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Spencer Dinwiddie is already helping Austin Reaves to play better

Last season, Austin Reaves was one of the NBA’s breakout studs. He quickly started to realize his potential in just his second season, and in doing so, he played a key role in helping the Los Angeles Lakers reach the Western Conference Finals.

It led to some predicting an All-Star selection or two for him in the near future. But this season, his efficiency has declined, while he has been exposed on the defensive end. The Lakers have played him quite a bit at point guard this season, something he never did last season, and it became clear that he isn’t a natural point guard.

But two weeks ago, they signed guard Spencer Dinwiddie from the buyout market. Dinwiddie is a natural ball-handling and facilitating guard, and it was projected that he would make life easier for Reaves in particular.

While Dinwiddie is still getting his feet wet as a member of the Purple and Gold, he has allowed Reaves to benefit from his presence.

Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT, a physical therapist and strength and conditioning coach who is a huge Lakers fan (and has his own YouTube channel), explained how Reaves has been aided by the team’s newest addition.

The numbers are already looking better for Reaves

Yes, Dinwiddie has played only four games for the Lakers, which is certainly a small sample space. But the numbers over that time are promising for Reaves.

In those four games, the undrafted guard has had two bad shooting games, but he is shooting 51.1% from the field during that time. Even better, he’s at 45.0% from 3-point range. His outside shooting has been very inconsistent this season, but getting open shots off passes from Dinwiddie should help boost his efficiency in that department.

The undrafted guard’s advanced stats have also improved in that four-game span. On the season, his net rating is -2.1, and L.A.’s defensive rating with him on the floor is 116.1, while its defensive rating without him is 109.0

But in four games with Dinwiddie, Reaves’ net rating has jumped to 10.9, and the team’s defensive rating is 110.9 with him on the court versus 122.7 without him.

Not only does Dinwiddie allow Reaves to conserve more of his energy for the defensive end, but he can guard opposing wings, which can save Reaves the trouble of having to get abused by players he isn’t gifted enough to guard.

While Dinwiddie’s numbers with the Lakers — 5.3 points in 25.3 minutes a game on 33.3% shooting — look poor, his net rating with them is a whopping 19.9. With him on the bench in these last four games, both their offensive and defensive rating have been much worse.

He has given them another true dribble penetration threat, and it has not only helped Reaves, but it can also take a bit of pressure off LeBron James.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire