Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves set the expectations for the team in the 2023-24 season sky high in a recent interview with HoopsHype.
“The main goal for the Lakers is to win a championship,” Reaves said. “All I care about, all we care about, is to raise another banner in the rafters.”
Lakers fans have to love Reaves’ mindset ahead of the 2023-24 regular season, as the Lakers were close to an NBA Finals berth in the 2022-23 campaign.
Los Angeles earned the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference last season, and it knocked off the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors on its way to the Western Conference Finals. While the team was swept by the eventual NBA champions, the Denver Nuggets, the Lakers showed that they were among the league’s best teams.
This offseason, Los Angeles made some solid moves in free agency to compete once again in the 2023-24 campaign.
The biggest move may have been re-signing Reaves to a four-year deal in restricted free agency. The former undrafted free agent has turned into one of the Lakers’ best offensive options.
The 25-year-old averaged 13.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game while shooting 52.9 percent from the field and 39.8 percent from beyond the arc in the 2022-23 season. Reaves made some major leaps from his first season in the NBA when he averaged 7.3 points per game while shooting 45.9 percent from the field and 31.7 percent from 3-point range.
He even improved his play during the Lakers’ playoff run last season, averaging 16.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 16 games while shooting 46.4 percent from the field and 44.3 percent from 3-point range.
Reaves wasn’t the only key piece that the Lakers brought back, as they also re-signed guard D’Angelo Russell and forward Rui Hachimura. The team recently agreed to a contract extension with big man Anthony Davis as well.
To improve on last season’s roster, the Lakers added guard Gabe Vincent – who was on the Miami Heat team that made the NBA Finals in the 2022-23 campaign – in free agency on a three-year deal.
The team also brought in big man Jaxson Hayes and wings Cam Reddish and Taurean Prince to improve the team’s depth.
Plus, the team still has one of the greatest players of all time in LeBron James leading the roster.
Based on those moves, and Reaves’ belief in the team, the Lakers seem poised to make another deep playoff run in the 2023-24 season.
Reaves, who is playing on the USA national team for the 2023 World Cup this summer, could really change the Lakers’ chances if he makes yet another leap towards stardom in the 2023-24 campaign.