Most people wouldn’t use the words “amazing” and “surreal” in association with the Los Angeles Lakers’ current season. Austin Reaves isn’t like most people.
On a team with nearly a full starting lineup of all-stars on its roster, the 6-foot-5, 206 lb. rookie has carved a spot for himself and become a new fan favorite, earning the nickname “Hillbilly Kobe.”
Before he was sinking game-winning 3-pointers in overtime for the Purple and Gold, Reaves was an undrafted rookie from Oklahoma. He was offered a two-way spot with the Lakers and before the start of the season, he was offseason a standard NBA contract for this season and an option for next season.
Reaves earned his first career start for the Lakers back in February. Since then, he’s started in 11 games and has played at least 30 minutes in four of those. When asked about the recent change, Reaves had nothing but positives to say in an interview with our Trevor Lane.
“It’s an amazing feeling just for me personally. Like I said earlier in the year, starting really doesn’t matter but being an undrafted rookie, it’s like the cherry on the top for me,” Reaves said. “It makes it a little surreal. But like I said earlier, starting isn’t the whole thing but it definitely feels good.”
Reaves was happy coming off the bench, and he proved this by making every minute on the court matter. He displayed a selfless style of play through his willingness to work on defense, his graceful passes to teammates and playmaking ability. Head coach Frank Vogel continued to award Reaves’ hard work with steady minutes throughout the season.
Most notably, Reaves doesn’t give up. During a season where the team looks deflated most nights and is missing players due to injury almost constantly, he still plays like he has something to prove. His approach to the game hasn’t changed at all since entering the starting lineup.
“It’s still basically the same thing, just trying to make the right play at all times and give 110% is the main thing,” Reaves said.
Lakers face tough road trip
With the regular season coming to a close soon, the Lakers need every win they can get. Those wins will not be easy, as the team begab a four-game road trip Wednesday against the seventh-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Lakers then take on the Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers to close the trip, all tough opponents.
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