Jason Richardson says Austin Reaves is capable of being 1st or 2nd option on Lakers

Brad Sullivan
3 Min Read

In the opinion of former NBA player Jason Richardson, Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves’ style of play helps make him a more viable option in the team’s lineup.

Richardson spent 14 seasons in the NBA from 2001 to 2015, missing the 2013-14 campaign due to injury. That depth of experience affords him the insight to offer an astute perspective on Reaves’ growing value.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis are the central components of the Lakers’ starting unit. That means that teams zeroing in on them might end up paying the price if Reaves or other Lakers players deliver effective statistical numbers.

Reaves entered the NBA in humble fashion in 2021, getting signed to a two-way deal as an undrafted free agent by the Lakers. Within months, his performance caught the attention of the Lakers front office, and the team signed him to a standard two-year contract.

During his first season, the 24-year-old was inserted into the starting lineup for 19 of the 61 contests he played in. One key reason for that elevation was because of the lack of depth in the backcourt, along with a host of injuries to teammates.

James and Davis were two of those players who missed extensive stretches last season. Those absences and other factors resulted in the Lakers failing to reach the postseason.

This season, more injuries put the Lakers’ postseason hopes in jeopardy, but Reaves and his teammates persevered and reached the play-in portion of the NBA season. A victory there sent them to a best-of-seven series against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Despite being underdogs in Game 1, the Lakers upset the Grizzlies in Memphis, with Reaves delivering a memorable performance. During his time on the court in the opener, the Arkansas native tallied 23 points, four assists and three rebounds.

In the Lakers’ next two games, Reaves again scored in double figures, though he was also the recipient of some rough play in Game 3. He also collected a total of 11 rebounds and six assists as the Lakers split those two clashes.

Monday night could be pivotal for the Lakers, with the team in position to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. The contest will take place on the Lakers’ home court at Crypto.com Arena.

How much production Reaves will deliver is a guessing game right now, but ignoring him in favor of James and Davis could be a costly mistake for the Grizzlies.

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Brad is a freelance writer for LakersDaily.com, who can clearly recall watching Lakers games in 1972 as they captured the first of their 11 Los Angeles-based titles. The franchise's evolution into a beloved and iconic franchise among its fan base since that memorable year allows for a wider perspective to be a part of his writing about the team's current fortunes.