The Lakers coming into this season made multiple changes to their roster. Be it adding big name veterans like Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony or a superstar like Russell Westbrook, LeBron James and Co. have revamped their team.
But as the pre-season has progressed, the Lakers have suffered from yet another injury crisis with injuries to many of their guards like Talen Horton-Tucker, Malik Monk and Kendrick Nunn to name a few.
While the dearth of depth in the guard position is a cause of concern, it has become a blessing for rookie Austin Reaves. Reaves who was undrafted in the 2021 NBA draft, was nabbed up by the Lakers in a two-way contract. After some impressive play in the training camp, the Lakers converted the rookie’s contract to a minimum.
LeBron James impressed with Lakers’ rookie Austin Reaves
With injuries to the likes of THT, Monk and Nunn, Frank Vogel has put his faith on Austin Reaves to act as a backup point guard or shooting guard. In his limited pre-season minutes, Reaves has had some high IQ plays and has been decent defensively as well.
Given the impact he has had off of the bench, the Lakers are certainly taking notice and superstar LeBron James is no exception. In a recent press conference, James revealed why he was impressed with their rookie signing.
LeBron on Austin Reaves, who went from a two-way deal to bigger minutes due to injuries: “He’s an NBA player. He can play at this level. I watched a lot of film on him when we (signed) him. His size … shot making ability …passing … High IQ kid, and he has a lot of dog in him.”
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 13, 2021
“He’s an NBA player. He can play at this level. I watched a lot of film on him when we (signed) him. His size … shot making ability …passing … High IQ kid, and he has a lot of dog in him.”
With the injury bug affecting them gravely before the start of the season, the Lakers will feel fortunate that they signed a versatile guard like Reaves. Given that he has great basketball IQ and is also an effective three point shooter, he fits right in to Frank Vogel’s system.
If the 19-year-old continues to impress the Lakers, it is just a matter of time before the Purple and Gold try to lock him into a new contract extension. How impressed are you with rookie Austin Reaves? Let us know in the comments section down below.
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