Lakers’ bold decision on Austin Reaves pays off…..

Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves, by all accounts, is a “team first” type of player.

But even for him, head coach Darvin Ham’s electing to move Reaves to the second unit prior to the team’s most recent game against the Phoenix Suns had to feel a bit strange.

Although it seemed like a bold decision, it was apparent the Lakers needed a spark with the second unit and gave Reaves the opportunity to play on the ball more as well. But how do you sell that decision to arguably your team’s third-most important player who just signed a four-year, $56 million contract extension with the team this offseason?

As Ham detailed to Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times, he was brutally honest with him. And from the sound of it, his actions proved to be entirely true based on how he told Reaves things were going to play out.

And everything Ham had told Reaves played out in full during the team’s 122-119 win over the Suns. Reaves logged 35 minutes, just one less than both LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and was also incredibly effective in leading the Lakers’ second unit to outproduce Phoenix’s.

The 25-year-old guard finished the night with 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting while knocking down 2-of-4 attempts from beyond the arc. He also tied the second-most assists he’s dished out in a single game this season with seven and played the entire fourth quarter.

Whether Reaves remaining with the second unit going forward is the plan or not, it’s apparent that allowing him to play on the ball more was beneficial for both himself and his teammates in this game, and it wouldn’t be surprising if it leads to even more success going forward.

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