The 2023–24 NBA season began with a lot of excitement. The Los Angeles Lakers had high expectations, and Austin Reaves was expected to play a crucial role. As perhaps the third most important player on the team after superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Reaves got a new four-year contract, introduced his own special shoe, and had a productive summer with Team USA. He even became one of the early favorites for the Most Improved Player award. However, the first five games of the season have raised a significant concern: his success with shooting the ball.
‘Austin Reaves Is Making an Impact Despite Scoring Less’ – LeBron James
LeBron James, the Lakers’ main player, remains unwavering in his belief in Austin Reaves. Despite Reaves’ early-season struggles, his shooting percentage stands at just 34.5%. His three-point shooting percentage is even lower, at 21.1%. However, James sees the bigger picture. He points out that Reaves’ value extends beyond just making shots. Even though he may not be making as many shots as he did last season, Reaves continues to make a significant impact on the court.
James highlights Reaves’ competitive spirit and the various ways he contributes to the Lakers’ success. Even on nights when his scoring is not so great, Reaves manages to make a big impact. He secures rebounds. He makes assists. Reaves creates key defensive plays. All of these contributions add to his overall value to the team. His versatility and all-around skills ensure that he remains a vital asset for the Lakers.
Coach Ham Explains Reaves’ Current Situation
Head Coach Darvin Ham offers insight into the factors contributing to Austin Reaves’ early-season struggles. He acknowledges that the Lakers’ deep playoff run and Reaves’ subsequent participation with Team USA during the summer created a challenging schedule. With only a short break, Reaves had to seamlessly transition back into his role with the Lakers. Furthermore, Coach Ham emphasizes that Reaves is no longer a hidden talent in the NBA. His breakout performance from the previous season and his productive time with Team USA have put him in the spotlight.
As a result, opposing teams are now fully aware of his skills. They have created more detailed scouting reports on him. This heightened scrutiny has made it tougher for Reaves to find open shots and maintain the remarkable efficiency he demonstrated in the past. In response to his early-season struggles, Austin Reaves assumes full responsibility for his performance. He underscores his commitment to improvement and the importance of facing challenges. He acknowledges that no athlete, no matter how talented, goes through their career without experiencing challenges. Reaves’ strong work ethic and dedication to getting back on track demonstrate his resilience and determination.
While the Lakers have secured three wins in their first five games, the narrow margins of these victories underscore the significance of Austin Reaves regaining his shooting touch. As LeBron James and Anthony Davis begin to manage their playing time and potentially deal with injuries, Reaves will be called upon to shoulder a larger offensive load. It is imperative for the Lakers’ championship aspirations that Reaves emerges from this early-season slump and returns to the dynamic, high-scoring player he was last season. All eyes are on Austin Reaves as he seeks to turn his season around and help the Lakers achieve their championship dreams. As the season progresses, fans can anticipate Reaves continuing to contribute on both ends of the floor while his shot eventually starts to fall, paving the way for the Lakers’ success.