Austin Reaves and Thomas Bryant are among the Los Angeles Lakers who have been "standout performers" in player workouts, per Jovan Buha of The Athletic.
That's an encouraging sign for the Lakers, as Buha projects that Reaves and Bryant will fill out the starting lineup around LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis.
Reaves has reportedly bulked up to 209 pounds, per Buha, who also noted that the ex-Oklahoma star has been "working diligently on his three-point shot, strength and endurance for the grind of an 82-game season, as well as his physicality to handle bigger wings on the perimeter."
Reaves is one of the lone holdovers from last season after the Lakers struggled to a 33-49 record. Over his last four games, he averaged 18.0 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists. That includes a 31-point, 16-rebound, 10-assist effort in a season-ending win over the Denver Nuggets. The second-year pro showed great promise, averaging 7.3 points per game on 45.9 percent shooting for the season.
Bryant, who suffered a partially torn left ACL in January 2021, returned last season and averaged 7.4 points and 4.0 rebounds in 16.3 minutes over 27 games. Buha noted that Bryant is "beginning to regain his mobility."
Bryant, who signed as a free agent with L.A. this offseason, is entering his sixth NBA year. If he returns anywhere close to his pre-ACL form, then the Lakers are getting an absolute steal. Bryant averaged 14.3 points on 64.8 percent shooting and 6.1 rebounds in 27.1 minutes over 10 games in 2020-21 before the torn ACL.
We'll see how Reaves and Bryant do with their opportunities to carve out key roles in the Lakers' rotation soon enough, as the team opens the season Oct. 18 on the road against the Golden State Warriors.