2023 Orlando Magic Offseason Needs: Perimeter Sharpshooters
Austin Reaves, Los Angeles Lakers
Austin Reaves, a 6-foot-5 guard who went undrafted out of Oklahoma after being a fifth-year senior has had a surprising rookie and sophomore year with the Los Angeles Lakers that has catalyzed into a playoff run leaving him as a target for all young teams needing depth at his position.
Davis has certainly benefited from playing alongside superstars in LeBron James and Anthony Davis. That has given Reaves confidence and openings to take and make shots that leads to winning. But he has made a mark on his own and put the Lakers in a tricky position this offseason as they try to keep their team together after their surprising Western Conference Finals run.
In the last two season, 47 percent of Reaves’ shots were threes. This season he made 39.8 percent on 3.4 attempts per game. That was big for a Lakers team often lacking 3-point shooting.
Reaves is deadeye from three when shooting from the center all the way down to the right corner — 46.5 percent, while on the right wing and corner, he is below average at 29.9 percent.
The pros to Reaves match exactly his cons. He is a fantastic big-game performer who shows the gene to be clutch bucket maker. He definitely did not shy away from any opportunities whether it was the March win over the Orlando Magic at Crypto.com Arena or throughout the Los Angeles Lakers’ playoff run.
But how much of his opportunities and his shot-making is because the primary and secondary defender on every team are so highly focused on James and Davis? Reaves is playing in spaces created off of legends. But he succeeded at it nonetheless.
In addition to being the third wheel to the Lakers’ offense, Reaves does post above average effort-related defense which makes him one of the better perimeter defenders.
Is that a product of having a generational shot blocker behind you instilling confidence? Maybe, but it does mean he could add on both ends against other players on this list who would need to develop that part of their game.
Although Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner project to match that production when they reach their primes, could the projected 4-years, $60-plus million be too much commitment too soon?
For whatever it is worth, the Lakers seem very determined to keep Reaves at whatever cost it takes. He is a restricted free agent, but the Lakers seem willing to make sure they can match his offer comfortably.
If the Magic sell themselves on Reaves being the best option they would need to swoon the restricted free agent.