Austin Reaves performed 1418 mins for the Lakers ultimate season, however he turns out to have had a explicit fondness for 273 of them. Those are the mins that Reaves shared the courtroom with Anthony Davis, and the sophomore guard is having a look ahead to many extra of the ones in 2022-23.
In an interview with Jake Fischer on the Callin app, Reaves expressed his pleasure about taking part in with a healthy Anthony Davis, in particular on account of what AD brings defensively that the Lakers have been missing a 12 months in the past:
“Health is the main key for him, and like you said, when he’s healthy he’s a problem, to say the least. He is super active defensively. So that’s what I can’t wait for is his defensive presence, I mean because you can play defense a lot different. Cuz last year we played a lot of small ball with Bron at 5, and like, as great as Bron is, like he’s not, he’s a great transition shot blocker, but AD’s shot blocking presence off of drives or pre-drives when he’s guarding the dunker is insane. So you can guard the ball differently, you can put more pressure on the ball, be more aggressive knowing that you got AD ready to come over and block a shot, so that’s what I’m most ready for.”
Even when AD wasn’t at his healthiest in 2021-22, he and Reaves nonetheless shaped a fearsome defensive duo. Of the 17 Lakers who took the courtroom for no less than 100 mins ultimate season, no two had a higher defensive on-off than Davis and Reaves, in line with Cleaning the Glass. The Lakers allowed 3.8 fewer issues in line with 100 possessions when Reaves performed and six.4 fewer issues in line with 100 possessions when Davis performed. The Lakers had a defensive score of 114.3 ultimate 12 months, twenty fourth in the NBA; lineups with each Davis and Reaves have been at 102.9, miles higher than the league-leading Boston Celtics (106.9).
As Reaves mentioned, Davis cleans up a lot of messes at the rim, permitting the Lakers guards to play extra aggressively. Reaves wasn’t ready to gamble a lot for steals ultimate 12 months with out a cast defensive heart in the paint, which means he had to frame up a lot of drivers who had some heft on him. Even as Reaves will get more potent heading into his 2nd season, it nonetheless behooves him and the Lakers to have extra choices in containment, which Davis supplies.
If a restricted Davis used to be ready to affect the Lakers’ defense to that level, it’s beautiful transparent why Reaves is so excited to play with a healthy model. A healthy AD is one that hit certainly one of the extra memorable pictures in franchise historical past, who can also be the key to Darvin Ham’s imaginative and prescient in Los Angeles, and Reaves eagerly awaits being that man’s teammate:
“He’s one of the best players in the league when he’s healthy, as he’s shown in years past, especially the year that they won in 2020, the pandemic year, the bubble year. He was a different, different human, like he was out there doing everything, so I can’t wait to see it in person. Just unfortunately last year, he wasn’t healthy enough to do it. But I’ve seen him in the gym a lot in the last couple of weeks every day, he’s putting in work. I can’t wait for that to get going.”
There are various considerations to have about this Lakers roster, however this duo is explanation why sufficient for optimism.