Austin Reaves is en route to becoming the latest feel-good story coming out of Staples Center amid his rapid progression from going undrafted to securing a permanent deal with the Los Angeles Lakers in just a few months.
The Oklahoma alum first impressed L.A.’s coaches during the Summer League in August which led to an upgrade of his two-way contract. Since then, he has shined during the preseason — even though the Lakers have lost all of his five games so far.
Reaves even received high praise from head coach Frank Vogel, who marveled at the 23-year-old rookie’s versatility and impact on both ends of the floor.
Just like Talen Horton-Tucker experienced last year, Reaves gets to spend his rookie year in the NBA alongside some of the greatest players to ever enter the league. In a recent interview with Spectrum SportsNet’s Mike Trudell, he offered his thoughts on the opportunity to share the floor with LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis:
“They make the game really easy for other guys, they’re known for pass-first basketball with Russ and LeBron. So they really just make it easy, you just got to be at the right place and the right time and knock down the shots because they’re going to get most of the attention on a nightly basis. So really just be ready to knock down open shots in the corner and just compete on the other end.”
Similarly to his All-Star teammates, Reaves hasn’t been put off by the losing streak, which the Lakers are yet to end during the offseason with less than a week before the 2021-22 season tips off:
“We see it every day in practice and we like what we’ve got going on. We got a lot of guys that can play basketball the right way and really just be successful as a team, that’s the main goal at the end of the day is really just win basketball games and we got the group to do it. There’s always work to put in to be better but at the same time we like the progression that we’ve had and really like I said, just keep grinding it out and be ready.”
In the five preseason games, Reaves has averaged 8.0 points, shooting 44% from the field and 42.9% from behind the 3-point line.
Reaves seeks basketball wisdom from Rondo
Reaves found himself in the perfect environment for his development considering the Lakers are a veteran team made of multiple MVP award and All-NBA selection-winners.
The Oklahoma product has revealed he frequently seeks feedback and advice from one of the available mentors in particular: two-time NBA champion Rajon Rondo, known for his analytical mind and high basketball IQ.
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