Los Angeles Lakers Darvin Ham offered a promising picture of Austin Reaves’ future, saying that the Lakers guard will one day be selected to play in the NBA All-Star Game.
Appearing on the Chris Haynes and Marc Stein podcast, Ham offered a succinct prediction about the potential of Reaves.
“I’m putting it on record right now: Austin Reaves will be an All-Star at some point soon,” said Ham.
Such a lofty prediction is something that would have likely been laughed at just two years ago. At the time, Reaves went undrafted in the 2021 NBA Draft and signed a two-way deal with the Lakers in August of that year.
Within a few months, Reaves had shown the Lakers enough ability that was rewarded with a regular contract.
Despite his rookie status during the 2021-22 campaign, Reaves ended up in the starting lineup during 19 of the 61 contests he played that season. A key reason for that usage was due to injuries and other backcourt issues that team had during that disappointing year.
This past season, Reaves managed to nearly double his per-game numbers in the areas of points and assists. He finished the 2022-23 regular season by averaging 13.0 points per game and 3.4 assists per contest and also delivered an average of 3.0 rebounds per game.
That improvement turned out to merely be a precursor to Reaves’ breakout performance during the recent postseason.
In the Lakers’ 16 postseason contests, Reaves averaged 16.9 points, 4.6 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game. Those efforts were a prime reason why the Lakers reached the Western Conference Finals for the first time in three seasons.
Reaves got things going during the playoffs almost immediately by delivering a clutch fourth-quarter performance against the Memphis Grizzlies. His 14-point effort helped the Lakers spring an upset and sparked them to the first of back-to-back six-game series victories.
From a financial perspective, Reaves’ rapid development put a larger dent in the Lakers’ payroll. While the potential prospect of having to match a $100 million deal for Reaves never materialized, the final tab was still steep at $56 million over the next four seasons.
If Ham’s prediction about Reaves’ future does come true, that deal could end up being a huge bargain for the Lakers. Yet, for now, the guard has to show that his value to the team is worth such an investment.