LeBron James praises Austin Reeves for being efficient despite poor shooting

Austin Reeves enters the 2023-24 season as arguably the Los Angeles Lakers’ third most important player, behind superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis. He received a new four-year contract, a new signature shoe and spent a summer with Team USA trying to take his game to the next level. He is considered one of the favorites for Most Improved Player.

But he ran into a major problem through his first five games: his shooting percentage. In his first five games, he shot 34.5% from the field and 21.1% from three-point range, which was a significant decrease from his efficient numbers in his first two seasons in the NBA. But the year is still young, and Reeves is coming off the longest year of his basketball career.

James believes Reeves will eventually regain his legs and return to the shooting form he was last season. But more importantly, he praised Reeves for finding ways to be effective despite poor shooting.

“What I see is a guy who’s been in the playoffs for a long time and played a lot of basketball in the summer,” James said. “It’s going to take a little while for his legs to get back under him, but there’s no question about his competitiveness and what he brings to our team, so if he’s not shooting, he can’t care less because he’s also Do other things on the field.

“I mean, even tonight, he didn’t shoot like he wanted to and he didn’t hit the three-pointers that he’s accustomed to. Still put up eight rebounds and seven assists. Timely shot. Great three steals, So he’s still a great player for us. He’s one of our key players and even if he’s not shooting, we need to be playing well and that’s what makes him really good because he doesn’t need to shoot to make a difference.”

Reeves’ defense and intelligence on the court make him a key player in the Lakers’ success, even if his shooting percentage is in the mid-30s. Of course, he’ll eventually need to get back on track, so defenders are still forced to guard him on the perimeter, but for now, this seems like a classic case of a young player slumping due to fatigue.

As the season goes on, Reeves will continue to do what he does on defense and with the ball, and shots will eventually start to fall.

Christian Wood highlights broken glass

Despite only playing five games, the Lakers’ role players appear to be comfortable in their roles, which was a defining characteristic of the 2019-20 championship team. Take Christian Wood, for example. He made rebounding a priority, and his change in mentality led to a icing on the cake dunk against the Clippers.

“It’s funny you say that. DLo told me before about possession of the ball, if it’s your turn, shoot, if not, go get the rebound, rush as hard as you can. You have 10 rebounds, you need one more. I definitely had that in my mind when I went to get the rebound, but I saw no one was blocking me, so I just went and dunked.”

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