How Austin Reaves unlocked LeBron James, Anthony Davis — and the Lakers

Austin Reaves has become a crucial player for the Los Angeles Lakers since his ascent after the All-Star break this season. Although he originally signed to split his time between the G League and the Lakers on a two-way contract, he became perhaps one of the Lakers’ most consistent players. LeBron James has said that he likes high basketball IQ players in his team, and while Reaves may not be the most athletic player, he knows how to play the game of basketball.

Since the All-Star break in February, Reaves averaged 19.8 points and 6.1 assists while shooting 58% from the field, 46% from 3 and 90% from the free throw line. Over the following 10 games of the season, L.A., when shooting directly off passes from Reaves, had a 70.2% effective field goal percentage, which ranked fifth among 40 players with qualifying assist opportunities during that time, according to Second Spectrum.

Reaves’ game complements LeBron James and Anthony Davis well. “He just knows how to play the game and he’s tough. When you put guys like that around me and Bron, kind of the same role as AC [Alex Caruso]… Guys who just do all the dirty work but also can play, it really complements me and Bron,” said Anthony Davis. Reaves’ success has been compared to Caruso’s, who had a similar playing style, went undrafted, and signed with the Bulls two games after Reaves signed his two-way contract with L.A.

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