On Proving Himself…
LN: Alright. Let’s talk about the most important thing for you right now, this training camp, and where you see yourself performing. Was there any area where you saw room for improvement this summer in Las Vegas and how you have worked on that area now?
RN: I just needed to improve on certain aspects of being a wing player, since I moved up a position to the three. Ballhandling, defending wing players, hitting outside jumpers consistently…all those things can always be improved upon.
LN: Where are you going to stand out above the rest of the guys trying for that last roster spot during training camp?
RN: I’m not worried about the other players competing; they are friends of mine. I’m just going to do everything in my power to help the team and get noticed.
LN: Well, is there one thing that you can bring to the table that the others can’t?
RN: I think I am a very versatile player that can help out at multiple positions on the floor. The other guys are pretty much at one set position, which then gives me an edge.
LN: What are you going to do to ensure that you make this team?
RN: Work hard. But there’s nothing I can do to ensure a roster spot. Like I said, I’ll do everything within my power to help the Lakers and my teammates.
LN: Understandable. I know training camp won’t be a cake walk. When it all starts to get tough, how do you stay motivated?
RN: Motivation comes from wanting to help my family have a good life, and from the people telling me I can’t do it. That’s all I need.
On Basketball in General…
LN: I want Lakers fans to get a chance to get to know you a bit. So let’s have some fun! Who do you think is the Lakers biggest competition this year?
RN: There are three teams I see being heavy competition for the Lakers. First is the Heat, the NBA’s defending champs, so they deserve the respect that comes with that. The OKC Thunder of course; they had a strong showing last year. And the Spurs are always going to be good.
LN: Which NBA star would you most like to defend?
RN: I would most like to defend LeBron James, Kevin Durant or Kobe, because I think that they represent the biggest challenge of anybody 1-on-1.
LN: Which player would you compare yourself, or your style of play to? Why?
RN: I don’t really compare myself to anyone. I just play my game best way I know how.
LN: Who do you predict to get MVP after this 2012-2013 season? Win the Championship?
RN: Kevin Durant will probably win this year if he stays healthy. He’s due for one. And of course I think the Lakers are going to win the championship!
LN: Tell us one thing about yourself that not many people know.
RN: I rarely watch TV. At all. I find that to be an uncommon trait in people my age.
LN: Crazy! I think I have too many sports teams to watch that it would be hard for me to not tune into the tube. Do you have any words that you live by and want to share with our readers?
RN: I have a few. But coming from a place where I’ve heard a lot of doubters, one in particular stands out right now; “Tell me I can’t, I don’t hear you.”
When Reeves ended his interview with me, with those words being his last, I felt really perplexed. The rest of the afternoon had gone on as you normally would imagine; personalized answers, but typical expectations on training camp any player would have addressed. But to be so candid on where his motivation came from, Reeves told a lot about himself.
You see, negativity is a strong motivator. For some, having people always tell you negatively how they feel about you and your goals can take a dismal toll. But for others, it’s just propulsion to prove them wrong. Reeves is in that place, and I find that to be deadly, in a good way.
Expecting to get things done your way will eventually set you up for disappointment. But having the fire behind you to be better and better gives you constant energy. If one thing is sure, Nelson is ready. And he’s been ready for a while. Mentally, he’s there. Physically, he’s there. It’s just a matter of being able to show everyone that he’s there. I have no doubt he will be able to prove he is a strong basketball player, but it depends also on how the other three perform.
When you look at Reeves, you have to agree with his statement on versatility; one thing that sets Reeves Nelson apart from Sacre, Johnson- Odom, and Somogyi is his ability to play multiple positions on the court. This makes him really valuable, not only for game time, but also practice. Imagine the usefulness to starter teammates.
Nelson also brings an unmatched aggression to the court. When honed, this quality is beneficial to the Lakers because it translates to hard work. Driving to the basket harder. Defending harder. Running the baseline harder.
Without a doubt, between his gratefulness and work ethic, Reeves would give his all for this Lakers team. His life is about basketball and playing basketball. That’s it. I expect people who are observing these four prospects to be surprised by Nelson in a great way during training camp. Nelson is going to show great prowess, and give those he competes against a run for their money. Being undrafted, he’s at a disadvantage. But with a history that has seen several controversies, watching Nelson become a team player and a hard worker, even on the bench, during Summer League a few months ago has shown how focused he really is.