There was little to criticize about Austin Reaves’ game this season as he burst onto the scene. As an undrafted free agent, he was pretty much the exact definition of found money for the Lakers and, therefore, everything he did felt like a cherry on top.
But after that season and the payday that has come this offseason, no matter how much of a bargain it may be, the expectations are going to grow for Reaves exponentially. No longer is he found money but someone the team should be able to rely upon.
That increased responsibility means the Lakers will ask more of Reaves in many ways, including physically. In a recent appearance on The Lowe Post podcast, Dave McMenamin of ESPN spoke about plans the front office envisions for Reaves this summer.
“That’s the next challenge for him is to continue to work on his body. I’ve had people in the organization tell me “We just have to get him on the Caruso Plan” and you saw what Alex Caruso went in his time on the Lakers to his time on the Bulls. His body completely transformed and Austin certainly has the work ethic and the love of the game to do so.”
The assumption here is that, in talking about a physical transformation akin to Caruso, the Lakers aren’t hoping Reaves goes bald. Instead, they’re hoping he can become chiseled enough to be drug tested after photoshopped pictures of him working out.
Mr. Silver is always watching. pic.twitter.com/9JVL7R2PxV— Silver Screen and Roll (@LakersSBN) September 3, 2019
Actually, the plan probably is for him to actually look like that photoshopped photo. But, obviously, Caruso underwent quite the transformation with the Lakers similarly as an undrafted player and Reaves would benefit from that.
Last season, Reaves dealt with injury and ran into the rookie wall before finishing the year strong. This season, there was a one-month absence due to a hamstring strain in January.
No one will ever be completely injury-free, but Reaves has had some extended absences that could be limited. And with what the Lakers are going to ask of him this season, Reaves will need to be as healthy as possible.
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