Austin Reaves made a leap from an undrafted free agent to a Los Angeles Lakers starter in his first year with the team, in big part thanks to his Summer League performance.
Reaves averaged 7.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists over five Summer League games — clocking in 22.2 minutes per game, the third-highest number on L.A.’s team. Even though the guard’s shooting was streaky, his hustle and defensive skills earned him a two-way contract with the Lakers – which the franchise upgraded to a standard NBA deal before the start of the season.
Reaves has made tremendous progress since the 2021 preseason, but he still doesn’t rule out heading to Las Vegas to represent the Purple and Gold in this year’s Summer League.
“I’m not 100% sure yet. That’s really about the most honest answer I can give you,” he told Lakers Nation.
Reaves considers the Summer League as a major learning experience that helped him get ready for his rookie year. Hence, the 24-year-old will treat each game as if he was playing in the NBA in case he ends up going to Las Vegas.
“I feel like I’ve always got something to prove,” Reaves said. “So, if I go and play, I’m going to play it like I play every other game. But last year, Summer League was fun. It gave me a perspective of really just the physicality of the game, the speed of the game. Last year, that helped a lot moving into my rookie year.
“Like I said, if I go back and play this year, which is possible, I’m going to play it like every other game. Like it’s just a regular-season game, just try to do the right things on the basketball court.”
Reaves & young Lakers hit gym early ahead of 2022-23
After the 2021-22 season ended, Reaves took a short vacation before returning to the Lakers’ facilities to begin summer practice. The guard has been working out for a couple of weeks already, lifting weights alongside L.A.’s other young players.
“We’ve all been in the gym together, Stanley [Johnson], Talen [Horton-Tucker], Wenyen [Gabriel], Mason [Jones],” Reaves said. “Seeing a lot of them. Most of the workouts are more individuals, but we’re in the gym at the same time. So yeah, it’s been a good start to the summer so far.”
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