Austin Reaves talked about getting through being benched

One of the many reasons Darvin Ham was fired after two seasons as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers is that he spent the first half of this season shuffling through different starting lineups.

At one point in November, after they had gotten off to a 3-5 record, he benched guard Austin Reaves in favor of Cam Reddish, a former lottery pick who, in the eyes of many, has turned out to be a complete bust.

Reddish ended up starting 26 games, even as the Lakers continued to struggle to string together wins. Reaves didn’t return to the starting lineup until early January, but to his credit, he didn’t complain publicly.

After Los Angeles was eliminated from the playoffs by the Denver Nuggets, he spoke to the media about getting through that period of time early in the season when he was coming off the bench (at 4:16).

“Before Game 15 this year, I was moved to the bench,” Reaves said. “There was a lot of things that happened this year that you have to be mentally tough to get through. You have to fight your way through it. That’s one thing I’ll give myself credit for is I never folded. I never felt sorry for myself. Obviously, there’s frustrations but I woke up every single day and went to work and tried to get better and tried to help our team win. That’s all I care about is winning.

“Obviously, there’s things that I can always do better to help us win but every single night I go out there on the court, that’s my main goal is to win. At the end of this year, I can say that’s what I did.”

Although Reaves went to the bench and saw his playing time decrease slightly, his quality of play didn’t decrease. In fact, as a reserve this season, he shot 50% from the field and 37.8% from 3-point range, compared to 48.1% and 36.2%, respectively, as a starter.

He may see his name come up in trade rumors this summer as the Lakers look to upgrade their roster. But one should expect him to ignore that and continue to train hard in advance of his fourth NBA season.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire