Austin Reaves was a long shot to even get an NBA contract, then all of the sudden the Lakers offered him a two-way contract. The Lakers so far this preseason have already suffered an array of injuries. While that is unfortunate for the Lakers, it has given Reaves a great opportunity to showcase himself and fight for regular minutes.
After the Lakers postseason loss to the Warriors on Tuesday night, Reaves' teammate LeBron James was asked about him and what he thought of Reaves. James was complimentary.
"He's an NBA player and he can play at this level, and play at a high level. I watched a lot of film on him when we drafted him actually, and I knew right away that he could be an NBA player and play at this level. His size, his shot-making ability, his pick-and-roll play, his passing...he's a high IQ kid, and he's got a lot of dog in him too."
High praise from James, who knows what he is talking about. Speaking of film, here is a short video of some of Reaves's best work from Tuesday night's Laker loss to the Warriors.
That level of defensive awareness and intensity is surprising. Reaves had the lateral footwork to say in front of almost all of his assignments last night. He had blazing quick hands and a nice-looking jump-shot. More than anything else, he seemed to gel really well with the players on the floor at all times. He filled in the gaps where he was needed.
Perhaps I am postulating because of a piece of our Lakers heart that is missing, but Reaves was Caruso-esque. He may not get Caruso minutes over the course of the 82 game season, but I would not be surprised if he has a permanent role on the Lakers.