Austin Reaves has a lot of redeeming qualities both on and off the court that make him a valuable piece of the team’s roster. On the court, he’s a high-IQ player who has quickly adapted to the league to become an efficient scorer at all three levels.
But maybe just as important is how valuable he is off the pitch. No matter how much a Clipper employee may try, he remains out of the headlines and focused on playing basketball...and golf.
And in the locker room, he’s about as good of a teammate as you could possibly hope for. The clearest example of that, time and time again, has been stepping up to defend Anthony Davis against his many critics.
On Saturday, he did so yet again. Despite AD himself taking the blame for the loss on a night when he shot 5-21 despite a triple-double, Reaves wasn’t having it.
“Yeah, I mean I can already see the headlines,” he said. “‘AD sucks. AD can’t do this, can’t do that.’ He had a tough night shooting the ball. Other than that, he was fantastic. Like you said, 11 assists, triple-double.
“From the (start), they were doubling him. He was making the right play and I guarantee if you go back, watch the film and we get him the ball in the positions that he got the ball that he missed shots in, you would turn around and do the same thing again. But yeah, I thought he played a really good game other than struggling shooting the ball.”
In the same press conference, Reaves also praised D’Angelo Russell. The pair started together for the first time in two months against the Jazz and excelled, as they did most of the second half of last season.
“He’s a super-talented player that has been doing this for a while and his skill is very unique with how he does it and what he does on the court,” he said. “So it’s an honor to share the court with him.”
It’s no joke when I say there is a ton of value in having a teammate like this, especially one like Reaves who has become a prominent figure in the team. Having a public voice backing you publicly like this can only be good things for the psyche.
Truly, it’s hard to imagine a better teammate than Reaves.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.