Austin Reaves is a hidden gem for the Los Angeles Lakers, according to D’Angelo Russell. He defies all expectations that a white NBA player would have. Russell was impressed by the versatility of the shooting guard who was passed over in the 2021 NBA draft.
Russell told Reaves, “He’s not the typical white guy .” He’s more than a tough guy or shooter who isn’t able to do much else. He has a complete game. He can score anywhere, create for others and lock up on defence. He has a high IQ in the game.”
Russell continued, “In NBA, you’ll see a lot of white guys. They’re usually the shooters and they can’t guard anyone.” Or he is tough and cannot do anything else.
Reaves has taken full advantage of his chance with the Lakers, having played in college for Wichita State, Oklahoma, and Wichita State. In the regular season, he averaged 13 points, 3 rebounds and 3.4 assist per game, while shooting 52.9 % from the floor, and 39.8 % from beyond the arc.
Reaves is a restricted-free agent, meaning that the Lakers can match any offer he receives from other teams. Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka stated that Reaves was a ” crucial part ” of the team and they would do anything to keep him.
Austin Reaves shines during playoffs against the Grizzlies
Reaves has been able to shut down the Grizzlies’ star guard Jamorant by putting up 17,6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.4 assist in their series. Reaves and the Grizzlies dominated Game 1 with a combined 23 points. In Game 3, he had a similar performance, scoring 13 points with 5-of-10 shooting. He also added four assists and three thefts. In Game 4, after a poor shooting performance, he had 23 points with six assists to help the team win another game at home. In Game 5, Reaves scored 17 points but it wasn’t enough to win the game.
Reaves was also one of the Lakers best defensive players during the playoffs. He is third in the team’s defensive win share, behind Anthony Davis and LeBron, who are respectively first and second. Reaves has been a reliable performer in crucial moments. In Game 2, Reaves hit a huge three-pointer at 1:19 to give the Lakers an eight-point advantage. In Game 4, with just 14 seconds remaining, he made two free throws to seal the win.
Reaves is a formidable force in the postseason, with the Lakers on the brink of eliminating the Memphis Grizzlies after six games.