Although the Los Angeles Lakers are an older roster that looks wholly committed to competing for a title during the upcoming season, the team does have some young talent they can groom.
The Lakers did not have a draft pick in the 2021 NBA Draft but still found talent in the undrafted pool as they were able to sign Austin Reaves to a two-way deal. Reaves is an older prospect at 23 years old but has the ability to handle the ball and create his own shot.
Reaves flashed during Summer League, with his highlight moment coming in a win against the Phoenix Suns where he knocked down the game-winning shot on a putback. Aside from his summer heroics, Reaves does have a connection to fellow young guard Malik Monk who signed a one-year deal with the Lakers in free agency.
Reaves and Monk are both from Arkansas, and the rookie recalled the times they played each other in high school per Mike Trudell of Lakers:
“My freshman year, yes. We played them twice that year, and we beat them both times. If it was a 1-on-1 matchup, he definitely killed me. We played them in the state finals, and I think he had like 27, as a freshman. He played really well.”
Reaves also admitted that his team probably should not have won against Monk and acknowledged how heralded of a prospect he was before going to Kentucky:
Oh, yeah, Top 5 I think. We probably shouldn’t have won that game. My brother, actually, it was probably the best game I’ve seen him play in person. He had nine at half, but in the second half, he came out and just couldn’t miss. I think he had 29 in the second half, and literally at the end of the third and the fourth, I don’t think anybody else really did anything, we were just playing defense.
It is easy to forget after a couple of rough seasons with the Charlotte Hornets just how talented Monk is and the fact that he is still only 23 years old is encouraging from a growth standpoint. Both Reaves and Monk may get opportunities to show Los Angeles they should be a part of their long-term plans, and it will be exciting to see the pair try to make their marks on the team.
Austin Reaves grew up a Kobe Bryant fan
Like most people his age, Reaves revealed that he grew up a Kobe Bryant fan because of his grandma, who was drawn to the Lakers icon’s mentality.