Report: Austin Reaves working with Lakers’ strength and conditioning team to handle bigger role this season

Peter Dewey
4 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves reportedly is working with the Lakers’ strength and conditioning team to handle a bigger role in the 2023-24 season.

The Athletic’s Jovan Buha also shared that Reaves wants to get back to playing the point guard position a little more this season, which would give the Lakers a lot of flexibility with their rotations.

“He is working with the Lakers’ strength and conditioning team this offseason — including throughout his time abroad with Team USA — to better handle his increasing workload,” Buha wrote. “He also is working to sharpen his ballhandling and playmaking as he prepares to run more of the offense next season. Reaves can shift between either backcourt spot, but says, ‘I want to get back to playing point guard a little more and what we did at the end of the year. I feel comfortable and like I’m able to do that.’”

Reaves has thrived with Team USA this summer, giving the team a major spark in a bench role. He’s reportedly been “much better” than expected with the squad.

Last season, Reaves was shifted into the starting lineup late in the regular season and during the playoffs. He played well with an uptick in his minutes during the Lakers’ run to the Western Conference Finals, averaging 16.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game in 16 games while shooting 46.4 percent from the field and 44.3 percent from 3-point range.

Still, for the entire regular season, Reaves averaged just 28.8 minutes per game. While that was more than his rookie season, it appears that the Lakers guard is bracing to play closer to 30 minutes per game – or more – in the 2023-24 campaign.

Reaves, a former undrafted free agent, returned to the Lakers in free agency this offseason, agreeing to a new four-year deal. It’s a massive move for a Lakers team that is hoping to compete for a title this season and beyond.

Last season, Reaves 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. He quickly has become one of the Lakers’ best options on offense, and he should be a lead player again in the 2023-24 season.

If Reaves takes on some more of the duties at the point guard spot, it could help the Lakers mix and match when they use guards D’Angelo Russell and Gabe Vincent.

Even if Reaves doesn’t see a ton of time at the 1, it’s great to see that he’s working on that aspect of his game to bring something new to the table in the 2023-24 campaign.

If Reaves takes another major step this season, Los Angeles is going to be one of the best teams in the West.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.