The NBA Draft is a night for many players and teams but the Los Angeles Lakers figured out a way to still the spotlight. The team pulled off a blockbuster deal for Russell Westbrook shortly before the draft kicked off. That will be the biggest move the Lakers pull this offseason but they also had a few other transactions on Thursday night.
Though Los Angeles didn’t end up having any draft picks, the team was able to land a few rookies. According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, former Oklahoma shooting guard Austin Reaves is among the undrafted rookies to get a two-way contract with the Lakers.
Reaves is an interesting pickup for the Lakers. Some mock drafts had him getting selected in the second round but Los Angeles gets him without using a pick. The guard isn’t noted for his defensive ability but many analysts believe he’s a strong scorer.
“Reaves is a crafty scorer with advanced shot-making skills, though he’ll need to improve his range,” Adam Wells of Bleacher Report wrote.
With Westbrook joining Anthony Davis and LeBron James, the Lakers don’t need any defensive help but they need a ton of shooting. Reaves could have an opportunity to earn a spot on the team if he shows solid shooting skills this offseason.
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Reaves Compared to 2 NBA Players
Undrafted free agents don’t have the easiest time making rosters in the NBA. Reaves holds a lot of upside but has a long road ahead of him. Luckily, he’s already been compared to a couple of solid NBA guards.
“He’s a cross between Kirk Hinrich and Donte DiVincenzo, a guy that can dribble, drive, pass it,” former Sooners assistant Carlin Hartman said, via CJ Moore of The Athletic. “I know he didn’t shoot a high percentage with us at Oklahoma, but he’s a guy who can make shots, especially with NBA-level players around him. If he’s wide open, he can knock it in.”
Hinrich has been out of the league since 2016 but DiVincenzo has carved out a solid role with the champion Milwaukee Bucks. However, both of those guys were first-round picks coming into the NBA. The path to make a roster will be much harder for Reaves.
Lakers Need Shooting
By trading away, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Kuzma as part of the Westbrook deal, the Lakers gave up a lot of scoring and shooting. As good as the former MVP is, he’s not a shooter. LeBron has become a much better shooter over the years but he’s not elite.
As of right now, the Lakers are poised to be among the worst shooting teams in the NBA next season. Fortunately, the offseason still has a long way to go. Many players will look at the Lakers’ newly formed big three and join the team looking to win a championship. The team just needs to hope that some of those players are elite shooters.