Los Angeles Lakers look to recreate Austin Reaves magic with recent signings

The Los Angeles Lakers have made a series of signings that they hope will capture lightning in a bottle in an Austin Reaves manner.
Los Angeles Lakers v Toronto Raptors
Los Angeles Lakers v Toronto Raptors / Cole Burston/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers have completed the 2024 NBA Draft in the manner expected of them. They balanced a strong first-round draft pick with a controversial second-round selection, thus setting the stage for yet another season of constant headlines.

After the conclusion of the 2024 NBA Draft, however, the talk seemed to gloss over the Lakers potentially capturing lightning in a bottle for the second time since 2021.

Los Angeles selected Dalton Knecht, a projected top-10 pick, at No. 17 overall in what's been heralded as one of the biggest steals of the 2024 NBA Draft. The Lakers then inevitably drafted Bronny James at No. 55.

Once the NBA Draft concluded, general manager Rob Pelinka orchestrated three signings: Armel Traore, Blake Hinson, and Quincy Olivari.

Undrafted free agents rarely move the needle for NBA teams, but the Lakers are in a unique position to believe otherwise. After all, one of the best players in Los Angeles over the past two seasons went undrafted in 2021: Austin Reaves.

Fast forward to 2024 and the Lakers are hoping that one of their recent undrafted signings can break out in a similar manner to Reaves.

Austin Reaves set the standard for undrafted Lakers

Traore is a French forward who stands at 6'8" and 210 pounds with a massive wingspan. He projects to be a 3-and-D wing in the NBA and has professional playing experience that should lend itself to aiding in his transition.

Considering the Lakers need to improve their three-point shooting and perimeter defense, it's a logical acquisition.

Hinson, meanwhile, is coming off of a season in which he earned First Team All-ACC honors. He's a sharpshooting wing who averaged 18.4 points and 3.3 three-point field goals made on 42.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc, but much like Reaves, went undrafted because he's older than the average player in his class.

A 24-year-old incoming rookie, Hinson can put the concerns to rest with a primary skill that can help him see the floor and defensive potential that could make him a 3-and-D fixture.

The third signing falls into the same category, as Olivari is a high-level player who went undrafted because of his age. During his senior season with the Xavier Musketeers, he averaged 19.1 points and 5.6 rebounds while shooting 40.9 percent on 259 three-point field goal attempts.

Olivari is something of a combo guard due to his score-first mentality and point guard size at 6'3", but his range and scoring instincts are appealing and could enable him to earn time on the court if he improves on defense.

It's unlikely that one of the undrafted signings will realize a Reaves level of potential, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. At the very least, the Lakers have reason to be optimistic about the upside of the players they've taken a chance on.

Regardless of how it plays out, Reaves' success with the Lakers has made the process of signing undrafted rookies an event worth monitoring.