Lakers Rumors: Austin Reaves ‘Penciled In’ As Starter & Closer For 2022-23
(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

Austin Reaves went from an undrafted free agent to a key rotation player on the Los Angeles Lakers in just a few months, proving he has what it takes to thrive in the NBA.

During his rookie season, Reaves averaged 7.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists, shooting 31.7% from deep. But he quickly turned out to be a useful two-way player with a high basketball IQ who can knock down important shots — including the memorable dagger 3 in a December win against the Dallas Mavericks.

Reaves became one of the most reliable Lakers player in 2021-22, earning him a place in the starting lineup in 19 of L.A.’s last 24 games. And even though the Purple and Gold have hired a new coach in Darvin Ham, The Athletic’s Jovan Buha reports that Reaves is likely to remain the Lakers’ starter in the upcoming season:

(Reaves is penciled in as a starter and closer based on the chatter out of the organization.)

Reaves has become only the 38th player to start in at least 19 games in his rookie season after entering the league as an undrafted free agent in the last 40 years. And while he seems likely to rack up more starts in 2022-23, that depends on whether the Lakers further reshape their roster before the season’s tip.

It appears L.A.’s pursuit of Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving is over after Kevin Durant agreed to rescind his trade request. However, the Purple and Gold reportedly have other options to swap Russell Westbrook for experienced role players — with possible trade partners including the Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks, and Utah Jazz.

Reaves to throw first pitch for Lakers Night at Dodger Stadium

Reaves has become a member of the Lakers family, which comes with privileges and responsibilities. He will fulfill one of them on Wednesday, throwing the first pitch at Dodger Stadium on Lakers Night.

As Lakers Night comes on Aug. 24, Orange County and the city of Los Angeles will celebrate Kobe Bryant Day.

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