Much of the talk about the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason has been surrounding the older veterans the team has added. Little coverage has been given to the rookie the team has brought in despite the fact that they’ve had success finding rookie gems in the past. The Lakers have Austin Reaves, Mac McClung and Chaundee Brown on the roster for training camp to fight for spots on the roster. However, we now know one of them has impressed the team enough to earn a spot.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Reaves is signing a two-year contract with the Lakers.
Reaves was on a two-way contract but now he’s got a spot on the actual roster. That leaves two more spots on the Lakers. One two-way contract and one guaranteed roster spot. General manager Rob Pelinka recently said that the team plans to keep a roster spot open during the season so it appears that McClung and Brown could be competing to get that last two-way contract in Los Angeles.
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Lakers Have Been Impressed With Reaves
Reaves getting an early nod over McClung and Brown shouldn’t be too surprising. He only averaged 7.0 in Summer League but did make an epic game-winning shot over the Phoenix Suns. In addition to that, Reaves has been impressing the team this offseason, per Sam Vecenie of The Athletic.
As noted earlier, the Lakers have had a lot of success finding young gems in the past. Alex Caruso came to the team as an undrafted rookie and he earned a four-year $37 million contract from the Chicago Bulls this offseason. Talen Horton-Tucker was a second-round pick by the team just a couple of years ago and he earned a three-year $30 million contract this offseason. It’s far too early to tell if Reaves will have the same success that those two have had but the Lakers appear to think they have another gem on their hands.
Reaves won’t see the court much this season. He’ll have to sit back and learn. Luckily for him, he gets to learn from some of the greatest basketball players of all time.
Pelinka Reveals What He Wants From THT
While Reaves has plenty of time to learn, the Lakers need to start seeing Horton-Tucker becoming an everyday impact player. They gave him a sizable contract this offseason and clearly believe he has star potential. However, the Lakers have plenty of stars on the team right now. If Horton-Tucker hopes to stand out, Pelinka believes that he needs to have a big year on defense.
“I think Talen has got to establish himself as a dominant defensive player,” Pelinka said in a recent press conference. “That’s going to be the expectation on him.”
Los Angeles has plenty of offense. Between Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Anthony Davis, the Lakers are more than enough players who can score. In adding so many dynamic offensive players, the team gave up a lot of defense. Horton-Tucker needs to provide a similar impact on defense that Caruso has over the last couple of seasons.