Lakers’ Austin Reaves drops truth bomb on new bench role after latest win

Austin Reaves reacted to his new life as the Lakers’ sixth man following their win over the Blazers on Sunday night.

The Los Angeles Lakers have not had a stellar start to the 2023-24 season, falling short of expectations after a strong finish in the previous season. A significant factor contributing to their underperformance is their recurrent struggles at the beginning of games, consistently trailing and relying on LeBron James and Anthony Davis to orchestrate comebacks, demanding extraordinary efforts night after night.

In response to these challenges, the Lakers coaching staff has implemented changes, such as bringing Austin Reaves, last year’s standout guard, off the bench. This adjustment aims to provide the team with increased offensive firepower when LeBron James is not on the court. Simultaneously, the starting lineup has been fortified with the inclusion of Cam Reddish to enhance the team’s two-way presence. Even in the absence of James during the recent victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night, Reaves maintained his role as the team’s sixth man, suggesting this configuration may persist in the foreseeable future.


Anthony Davis, Austin Reaves graded in Lakers win vs. Suns - Silver Screen  and Roll


Despite the perceived “demotion” to the bench, Reaves is approaching the situation with a positive mindset, emphasizing his commitment to doing whatever it takes to contribute to the team’s success. In his postgame press conference, Reaves expressed his perspective on the matter, stating, “Basketball is basketball for me… trying to play the same way regardless of the situation. That’s really it. I feel like my family, especially my brother, did a really good job of teaching me at a young age how to play the game. That’s really the main thing, just being myself, trusting what I do, but at the same time just playing the right way.”


Certainly adopting a positive mindset is crucial for Austin Reaves, particularly given the challenge of not maintaining the same level of performance from the previous season into the current one. Importantly, Reaves hasn’t found himself isolated within the Lakers’ team dynamics. The team continues to depend on him to initiate offensive plays, entrusting him with the pivotal role of being the primary shot creator and playmaker coming off the bench.

Remarkably, Reaves has been entrusted with closing out games for the Lakers, even taking precedence over starting point guard D’Angelo Russell in a recent Sunday night matchup. The team’s decision to position him as the sixth man has proven successful, with the Lakers securing victories in the two games where Reaves assumed this role. Overall, this strategic move has significantly benefited the Purple and Gold.

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