Austin Reaves had an inspiring journey to the NBA, originally being an undrafted guard and now cashing in on a four-year, $56 million contract to stay with the Los Angeles Lakers. In a short two years in L.A., Reaves earned the love of fans and is set to be an integral part of the franchise for years to come.
The 6’5″ guard started his college career at Wichita State for his freshman and sophomore year before transferring to Oklahoma. He would redshirt the 2018-19 season and then play the following two years, becoming a four-year college player, which is a rarity in today’s prospects. The Arkansas native would enter the draft in 2021 although he did not get selected.
Reaves himself has said that the Detroit Pistons were set to draft him in the second round but he declined to sign a two-way contract with the Lakers. He then impressed in Summer League and went to LeBron James’ player-only minicamp where he seemed to make a quick impression on James and Anthony Davis, via Jovan Buha on The Athletic NBA Show:
“He was a two-way guy, goes to Las Vegas for a players-only minicamp that LeBron James is leading,” Jovan Buha shared on the Athletic NBA Show. “And he played so well that LeBron and AD were just like this guy has to be on the team.”
LeBron and Davis thought Reaves was too good to just be on a two-way deal.
“The Lakers were planning on carrying 14 guys into the regular season,” Buha continued. “After LeBron and AD spoke with the management, it’s like this guy has to be like our 15th player, we cannot just have him on a two-way. So Austin made the team and from there, he has kinda taken off.”
Reaves would play 61 games, starting 19 of them in his rookie season, averaging 23.2 minutes. Former head coach Frank Vogel gave Reaves more opportunities towards the end of the 2021-22 season when the playoffs were out of reach. That would lead to the guard dropping a 31-point triple-double in the regular season finale against the Denver Nuggets.
He would go on to impress new head coach Darvin Ham and quickly cemented himself as a rotation player and high-end starter in his second NBA season, landing the new contract after becoming a free agent.
Earning the respect of Davis and James is not easy but kickstarted the NBA career Reaves and he wasted no time taking advantage of the opportunities he was given, which is great to see for a young player.
Reaves shares awesome moment with Schroder after World Cup loss
Reaves had a great summer with Team USA playing in the FIBA World Cup, although they failed top medal after losing to Germany in the semifinals and then Canada in the third-place game.
While the losses were tough, Reaves made it a point to go congratulate his former teammate Dennis Schroder and Germany as the two shared an awesome moment outside of the locker room.
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Author : Lakers Nation
Publish date : 2023-09-12 17:25:39
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