Austin Reaves and Darvin Ham: A Potential Collision Course

Lakers' Evolving Strategy in the Current NBA Season.

by Nouman Rasool
Austin Reaves and Darvin Ham: A Potential Collision Course
© Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

In the latest buzz from the Los Angeles Lakers camp, head coach Darvin Ham and player Austin Reaves are reportedly on a potential collision course, stirring up concerns within the team's dynamics. Anthony Irwin from the "Lakers Lounge podcast" sheds light on this brewing tension, emphasizing a surprising disconnect between Ham and Reaves.

The crux of the issue seems to stem from Ham's unexpected stance on Reaves' capabilities. Irwin points out, "For whatever reason, Ham doesn’t seem to align with Austin the way one would anticipate." This emerging discord raises questions about the future interactions between the coach and the player, possibly escalating to involve agents or the front office.

Reaves, who rose to prominence as a potential third star for the Lakers in the last NBA Playoffs, has been pivotal in supporting LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

His assertive style and skill in filling critical gaps on the court highlighted his value to the team. However, the current season has seen a shift in his role.

Reaves' Bench Impact

Initially, Ham envisioned Reaves as a player akin to Manu Ginobili for the Lakers, leading to his reassignment to the bench.

Despite this change, Reaves has maintained impressive stats, averaging 13.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 5.1 assists, with a 49.3% field goal and 38.8% three-point shooting rate. This performance seemingly vindicates Ham's strategy of using Reaves as a high-level bench contributor.

Yet, the situation isn't straightforward. Reaves' court time has been decreasing, notably after D'Angelo Russell's move to the bench, adding another layer of competition for playing minutes. This reduction in playtime for Reaves, one of the Lakers' most impactful players last season and a solid performer this year, raises eyebrows about the decision-making process in the team.

The dilemma is puzzling, considering Reaves has adapted well to his new role, contributing significantly to the team's performance. Behind-the-scenes dynamics and external pressures might be influencing the need for a more prominent role for the fan-favorite player.

Ham, already facing challenges in optimizing the Lakers' performance this season, finds himself in a tricky situation if these rumors of a rift with Reaves are true. Lakers fans, eager for a strong postseason showing, are undoubtedly hoping for a swift resolution to any internal conflicts, allowing the team to focus on their collective goal of success.