Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and Austin Reaves have forged the unlikeliest bond. A former No. 1 draft pick and an undrafted player usually don’t mesh too well. But, James and Reaves’ on-court chemistry last season became evident.
The relationship began early on with Reaves impressing James during the Lakers’ Las Vegas mini-camp before the season. LeBron said Reaves showed he is an NBA player and someone who can play at a high level. The undrafted rookie continued to catch the King’s eye with his play throughout the season.
A viral meme in January added to the duo’s already strong camaraderie. LeBron is a clear fan of Reaves and after a recent feature in the L.A. Times, James expressed his excitement about the Arkansas native’s potential on Twitter:
My guy, my dog- telling his story and love that he getting the attention he deserves. Laker Nation has something very special and he just getting started. 💜💛 https://t.co/RAUtUhRikF
— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 23, 2022
In January, James mentioned Reaves as a player he knew he would enjoy playing with right away. A strong 3-point shooter and hustle defender with a high IQ, players like Reaves match up well next to LeBron. James called Reaves “a gem” and someone who he predicted would make a huge impact on the team.
“Bringing him on board, I watched a lot of film when we was able to acquire him and I know what type of players I like to play with and I knew right away that he would make an immediate impact on our ball club probably honestly before himself and probably before our coaching staff and a lot of our other teammates,” James said.
Reaves averaged 7.3 points on 23.2 minutes per game last season, often providing a spark off the bench for a team lacking one. He closed out the season with a 31-point, 10 assist and 16 rebound triple-double in a win against the Denver Nuggets. The triple double made Reaves just the fifth Lakers rookie to ever record one.
Reaves is unsure about playing in Summer League
A strong Summer League performance last year prompted Reaves ascent into the Lakers rotation. However, after a season full of growth and big minutes, Reaves hasn’t made a decision about running it back in Las Vegas.
“I’m not 100% sure yet. That’s really about the most honest answer I can give you,” he told Lakers Nation.
Reaves has already been quite active in the gym, working out with fellow young players on the Lakers after a short vacation. Whether or not he plays in Vegas, Reaves has proven he can be a strong contributor in any role.
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