Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves is on a tear right now, as he’s averaging 18.3 points, 3.1 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game on 56.8 percent shooting from the field and 41.0 percent shooting from deep over his last 12 games.
Austin Reaves: "Since Bron's been out…I've tried to be more aggressive offensively both ways: getting teammates involved and scoring."
— Lakers Daily (@LakersDailyCom) March 23, 2023
Reaves put up 25 points against the Phoenix Suns in his most recent appearance, and that fact led former NBA big man Kendrick Perkins to call out Suns point guard Chris Paul.
— CyrusTheVirus (@CyrusTheVirusP) March 24, 2023
“Have you seen CP3 lately?” Perkins asked Stephen A. Smith. “… I just saw SGA (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander) drop a 40-piece on him, and then I saw Austin Reaves go for 25 and 11. … He’s borderline a senior citizen. He’s ’bout to enter the next chapter of his life. He’s declining right now. I don’t have that faith in him.
The truth is that while Reaves did put on a phenomenal show against the Suns, most of his damage in terms of scoring actually didn’t come against Paul.
Against Phoenix, the 24-year-old made 12 free throws, which of course are never contested. Furthermore, a closer look at his six made field goals will show that only one of them came with Paul directly guarding him.
It’s important to note, though, that three of Reaves’ points came from free throws that occurred because Paul fouled him.
With all that in mind, while Paul might not be the player he used to be, it seems like a bit of a stretch to say he’s close to being a “senior citizen” right now. The 37-year-old is putting up 13.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 9.1 assists per game while knocking down 43.3 percent of his shots from the field and 36.4 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.
As for Reaves, he’s really breaking out in a big way and cementing himself as one of the best players on the Lakers. On the season, he’s recording 12.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.
His performances have put the rest of the league on notice, and it seems like there’s a market in the range of $50 million brewing for Reaves, who is set to become a restricted free agent this offseason.
Both the Lakers and Reaves’ camp reportedly have interest in him re-signing with L.A., but only time will tell what the future holds.
For now, the Arkansas native is surely more focused on helping the Lakers secure a postseason spot. They have a huge game coming up on Friday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder, another team firmly in the mix for a postseason berth.