After a dismal start to the 2022-23 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers decided to clean house at the NBA trade deadline and were able to acquire D’Angelo Russell to join the likes of Anthony Davis and LeBron James.
Russell was expected to come in and fill the void left by the recently traded Russell Westbrook, and despite some lingering injury issues, he’s done a decent job thus far.
Although it would seem that Russell is the third-best player on the Lakers right now, Shams Charania of The Athletic would beg to differ, as he’d give the nod to rising star Austin Reaves, who is having a breakout season in Los Angeles.
“He’s technically your 3rd best player but he can start, he can come off the bench, he can do a little bit of everything… that’s really the role they have him in right now”@ShamsCharania on Austin Reaves' role and the growth he’s had 💪#RunItBack #LakeShow pic.twitter.com/LHlwEFlfjm
— FanDuel TV (@FanDuelTV) April 5, 2023
The Lakers took a chance on the undrafted guard out of the University of Oklahoma, and it didn’t take long before the team’s brass saw what they had in Reaves.
The 24-year-old has defied the odds since being given the minutes to do so in Los Angeles and seems to get better and better with every minute he plays on the court with Davis and James.
Reaves has become such a dependable scorer and playmaker that him being the team’s third-best player isn’t much of a stretch.
Yes, Russell has the experience and is a better shooter than Reaves, but the undrafted guard is arguably more consistent and not a question mark in terms of durability, as he always seems to battle through physical play and is rarely in street clothes on the bench.
Reaves having a breakout season is coming at just the right time as he’s eligible to sign a new deal with the team this summer, and all signs point to him getting that done.NEXT: Lakers Insider Details The Potential Playoff Seeds