Lakers' Austin Reaves is being adjusted to the starting role

Vogel has said he would have a starting role for Lakers after the All-Star break.

USA About: Lakers Publish: 02/28/2022 Edit: 02/28/2022 Author: Gardener

Austin ReavesLOS ANGELES — For a time, Austin Reaves had reason to wonder if fate was keeping him from making the starting XI. Coach Frank Vogel had told him twice that he would probably be in the starting XI. The second time in December - after his game-winning shot in Dallas - he was a late scratch due to the NBA's COVID-19 protocols and missed seven straight games. When Vogel stopped by again to tell him he'd be a starter for the Lakers after the All-Star break, Reaves may have been a little spooked about what might happen to him next. But the third time it went as it should: The 23-year-old made his first career start, going 2 for 4 with 6 points and 3 assists. "Not many people thought I would be in this situation initially," he said. Hopefully I have a lot more progress and a lot of years to play.” While Reaves downplayed it, he also got some measure of redemption in a sequence where he guarded Reggie Jackson, who won the February 3 basket against him scored This time, Reaves expected the spin to move and grabbed Jackson's shot, then chased it down to pin him at the baseline. While an injury to Avery Bradley Reaves has opened up a starting spot, what Vogel likes about the 6ft-5 guard is that he's not as vulnerable on defense as opponents seem to think. While Vogel said Reaves could improve, he also trusted the team's lone rookie enough to start him again Sunday night against the Pelicans. "He's got great length and great feet and he's really frantic and tough to play that kind of role," Vogel said. Analysis: LeBron James says he's committed to Lakers, does damage control at All-Star weekend Comments Lakers try to look ahead despite Anthony Davis' absence Reaves isn't the youngest Laker, but it's noticeable that he's the only player in the first year is a veteran list. Still, he was largely accepted as one of the group: Rajon Rondo was most concerned about giving Reaves so-called "rookie duties," like grabbing extra towels or making him buy a candle for his hotel room on road trips. Since Rondo was traded, Reaves said most of his errands have also gone away. Now Reaves just feels a part of things, just like he's settled into the rotation. He learns from game to game on the court. "Earlier in the year the length and the size and [the way] these guys can move was really the main thing for me to struggle with," he said. "But when you get to that point you kind of get a rhythm, you get a flow and a feel for this type of basketball and you really just have to settle down and figure out what you can do to be successful.

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