Lakers News: Austin Reaves Admits He Was Motivated From Being Left Off 2023 Rising Stars Roster
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Austin Reaves is no longer just a bit player as he is slated to play a much larger role for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2023-24 season.

Reaves took a leap in his sophomore season and is currently showing that it wasn’t a fluke as he’s turned into a key contributor for Team USA ahead of the 2023 FIBA World Cup. The former undrafted guard is a connector for the team and has earned rave reviews from his teammates.

The 25-year-old doesn’t lack for any confidence as he believes making an All-Star team is possible someday. The Lakers are certainly hoping he can reach those heights as they look to build around him and Anthony Davis once LeBron James retires.

However, despite the success Reaves has experienced he still carries a chip on his shoulder because of his exclusion from this past season’s Rising Stars Challenge, via Jovan Buha of The Athletic:

As Reaves exited the UNLV Mendenhall Center court after a Team USA practice, where he had just completed an around-the-arc 3-point shooting competition with teammates Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson, he circled back to a slight that has burned in his mind for the last six months.

“I was hurt at that time, so I get it, I guess,” he said. “Not really, but …”

Reaves was talking about his absence from the Rising Stars Challenge, the glorified exhibition for rookies, sophomores and G League standouts that kicked off NBA All-Star weekend in Salt Lake City in February. At the time, Reaves was just returning from a 16-game absence due to a hamstring injury, but he doesn’t think that was enough of a reason to be overlooked and not invited.

“It’s kind of a common theme for my life,” he said.

The missed time certainly hurt Reaves’ case, but Los Angeles’ record up to that point also worked against him. The team was largely struggling prior to the trade deadline, so it was easy to overlook what Reaves was doing.

Safe to say that leaving him off was a mistake after he what he went on to do after the break. Although he didn’t get the recognition he deserved then, he’s getting it back in spades now and that’s what matters.

Austin Reaves working with trainers with goal to play all 82 games of 2023-24 season

Staying healthy is going to be key for Reaves to make the next jump and he has acknowledged that he’s working with trainers in order to be available for all 82 games next season.

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