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Austin Reaves says he wants to become more of a playmaker

As he looks to progress his game this summer, Austin Reaves is focused on becoming more of a playmaker and point guard this summer.

2023 FIBA World Cup - USA v Slovenia Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Austin Reaves’ rise has come with him being a bit of a jack of all trades on the court. Whatever the Lakers have needed over the last two seasons, Reaves has largely stepped up to the task of filling that hole.

But now that he’s no longer an unknown and has cemented himself as a legitimate player, Reaves is focused on playing to his strengths. In college and across his basketball career pre-dating the NBA, Reaves was an on-ball player that excelled as a playmaker and shot creator.

As his time with the Lakers has progressed, Reaves has shown more and more of that skillset, particularly late in the regular season this year when LeBron James went down. In fact, he effectively won the Lakers a playoff game with his playmaking to close the game in Memphis.

In a recent appearance on the Full Send podcast, Reaves discussed what he plans on working on this summer when it comes to his game.

“Really just being more of a playmaker. I feel like I can play the one at a high level and just really proving that because that’s really the position I’ve played my whole career until college my last couple years. But that’s really it and just sharpening everything else. Just trying to get better overall.”

It’s hard to pinpoint how much Reaves played as the de facto point guard last season. Particularly when he played alongside D’Angelo Russell, both players shared ballhandling duties. So, when Cleaning The Glass says he played just 13% of his minutes at point guard, there’s a bit of discrepancy there.

What is clear, though, is that Reaves was a remarkably efficient player when it came to self-shot creation.

Last season, Reaves’ usage percentage rose up to 16.2%, an increase from 12.4% in his rookie season. Comparatively, his usage rate in college was a much more massive 27.7% in his senior season.

While that rate is reserved for an Anthony Davis or LeBron James in the NBA, there is still plenty of room to grow for Reaves. He offers a dynamic that the Lakers can use, especially during the regular season, to take some of the burden off LeBron and AD.

There also will be a greater expectation of him with his contract, so it’s encouraging that he’s open and working on expanding his role as well. He’s quickly become one of the best Lakers on the roster, and the potential of what he could still yet become makes the future all the more exciting.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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