Back in July, the Los Angeles Lakers inked guard Austin Reaves to a four-year, $56 million contract extension.
A Western Conference scout recently lauded the Lakers for re-signing Reaves on a bargain deal.
“Reaves on that contract alone is a good offseason,” the scout told ESPN of the Lakers’ summer. “[Gabe] Vincent is a solid player…but when you get a guy that good on that contract, that’s huge.”
The 6-foot-5 guard went undrafted in the 2021 NBA Draft following four seasons of college basketball — two at Wichita State University and two at the University of Oklahoma.
Reaves’ best season of college basketball came during the 2020-21 season, his senior season. He averaged 18.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 0.9 steals per game across 25 appearances with the Sooners (all starts).
Reaves has played two seasons in the NBA, both as a member of the storied Lakers franchise. He averaged 13.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game in 64 games played with the Lakers during the 2022-23 regular season (22 starts). The guard also shot the ball with impressive accuracy from the field, seeing as he converted 52.9 percent of his field-goal attempts and 39.8 percent of his three-point attempts.
For as productive as the 25-year-old was for the Lakers during the 2022-23 regular season, he played at an even higher level during the 2023 postseason. Reaves averaged 16.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 0.6 steals per game in 16 playoff games with Los Angeles.
Arguably Reaves’ best playoff series of the 2023 postseason came in the Western Conference Finals against Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and the Denver Nuggets. He averaged 21.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game for the series and shot 54.9 percent from the field and 56.0 percent from behind the three-point line.
Reaves’ heroics weren’t enough for the Lakers to defeat the Nuggets, however, as Denver swept the Lakers in four games and then went on to beat Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and the Miami Heat in the 2023 NBA Finals.
Considering Reaves is only 25 years old and fresh off a terrific postseason stint, his contract projects to age beautifully for the Lakers over the next few seasons. Here’s to hoping that he follows up his productive 2022-23 regular season with an even better 2023-24 regular season.