Lakers starter is the big winner of the JJ Redick hiring as head coach

The Los Angeles Lakers have hired JJ Redick as the new head coach. LeBron James is expected to be the primary beneficiary, but another starter is the big winner.
Los Angeles Lakers v Memphis Grizzlies - Game One
Los Angeles Lakers v Memphis Grizzlies - Game One / Justin Ford/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers may have taken the long road to the decision, but JJ Redick is officially the new head coach. It's a fact that went a long way towards informing the Lakers' selection of sharpshooter Dalton Knecht in the first round of the 2024 NBA Draft.

While all eyes are on how Redick will now help Knecht and former podcast co-host LeBron James, there's another player who stands out as the primary beneficiary of his hiring: Austin Reaves.

Redick played 15 seasons in the NBA, emerging as the proverbial late-bloomer in the era that Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors helped revolutionize. Previously a spot-up shooter with limited production, he improved as a playmaker and became a productive scoring threat.

This has informed Redick's belief that the Lakers should run an offensive system that emphasizes three-point shooting and multiple points of attack.

With this established, it's hard not to look back on Redick's career beyond the court. He became one of the biggest names in sports media, emphasizing the player's point of view and providing insight into the strategic elements of the game.

In perhaps the most pertinent episode of The Old Man & the Three that Redick hosted, he spoke about none other than Austin Reaves—and how much he loves his game.

"[Austin Reaves] is a secondary, tertiary shot-creator and playmaker. They run offense through him. He's got a bag of tricks. He shot the s*** out of the ball over the second half of the year. He's a phenomenal player."

That's high praise from Redick and a potentially telling sign about how he plans to emphasize and utilize Reaves' strengths as a player in 2024-25 and beyond.

Austin Reaves should thrive with JJ Redick as Lakers head coach

At the time of Redick's comments, Reaves was fresh off of helping the Lakers reach the 2023 Western Conference Finals. The undrafted shooting guard stepped up on the offensive end of the floor, showcasing the ability to create for himself and others while also spacing the floor.

Since that episode of The Old Man & the Three, Reaves has taken his game to another level—and also appeared on Redick's podcast for an hour-long interview.

In 2023-24, Reaves set career-best marks across the board with averages of 15.9 points, 5.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 0.8 steals, and 1.9 three-point field goals made per game. He continued to develop as a ball-handler and a facilitator, adding a new element to Los Angeles' offense.

Reaves also took a step forward as a scorer, absorbing a minor hit in efficiency to score nearly 16 points per game on a slash line of .486/.367/.853.

In 2024-25, Reaves projects to play an even bigger role under Redick than he did with Darvin Ham at the helm. He fits the vision of having multiple playmakers on the floor and will be trusted to step his game up defensively.

Reaves isn't the only Lakers player who projects to thrive, but the 26-year-old has been identified as a member of the team's young core and should benefit more than anyone from Redick being hired.