Lakers guard Austin Reaves earned a spot on the 15-man roster prior to training camp and became a rotation regular as a rookie, accomplishing two of his goals last season. However, the team fell woefully short of his third goal, which was winning a championship.
“Individually, I think it went about as good as it could have gone for me,” Reaves told Jovan Buha of The Athletic. “Doing all those things was special. And as a team, I mean, to say the least, it sucked, to be honest. We had high expectations for ourselves and felt like we just couldn’t piece it together throughout the year.
“For me, the main goal is always to win, so it sucked in that aspect.”
After going undrafted out of Oklahoma, Reaves signed a two-way contract with the Lakers and was later promoted to a standard deal, although his salary for 2022/23 is non-guaranteed. As Buha details, Reaves has been diligent in his offseason approach, focused on improving his outside shot and getting stronger to avoid a second-year slump — he has bulked up to 209 pounds with weight training, up from 197 last season.
“It’s my big focus,” Reaves said. “I go in there with a good attitude every day, and whatever they tell me to do, I do. Just putting my body in the best position so the rookie wall or whatever, it doesn’t hit you like that. And you can more push through it because you’re in better shape and better conditioning.”
Here’s more on the Lakers:
- Undrafted rookie Scotty Pippen Jr., son of Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen, is trying to forge his own path in the league, writes Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group. The younger Pippen was signed to a two-way deal after the draft and his father recently came to watch him play in Summer League. “I think just having my dad supporting me is kinda just like a full-circle moment, I think especially for him seeing his son make it,” he said. “But I think it’s a dream come true. I’ve dreamt of this moment.”
- In a lengthy Q&A with Mark Medina of NBA.com, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss was asked whether she expected a major deal to happen this offseason, to which she replied, “Nothing would surprise me. We’re not making change for the sake of change. It has to be good, basketball decisions that help us now and doesn’t compromise our ability to deal in the future.
- On ESPN’s First Take on Friday (video link), Brian Windhorst interpreted Buss’ quote as meaning she might not have faith in the current roster, with the key aspect being the last line about not compromising the team’s ability to make future moves. As currently constructed, in an optimistic scenario, Windhorst thinks the team might win 45 games in ’22/23 and make the play-in tournament.
- With LeBron James eligible for an extension at the beginning of next month, a rival executive thinks the Lakers are getting antsy to secure his long-term commitment to the franchise, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com. “They’re eager to do something,” the Western Conference executive said. “The team they have is just not good enough right now. Everyone there wants to see a resolution to the (Russell) Westbrook situation. They want to see about Kyrie (Irving). They want to get what they can from Indiana once they start selling off pieces, whether it is Buddy Hield or Myles Turner or both. So there is some major impatience, and they are looking at LeBron maybe getting an extension next month and they want to have everything in place. Well, nothing’s in place yet.”
- In case you missed it, Westbrook parted ways with his longtime agent earlier today.