You’re sitting on the couch watching one of the 42 national television appearances of the Lakers, the highest in the league, when at the end of the fourth quarter you suddenly start to wonder, “who is number 15 and why does he seem so familiar? ? “
On Wednesday, December 15, the 6-foot-5 guard continued to make a name for himself by helping the Lakers escape Dallas with an overtime victory.
– NBA (@NBA) December 16, 2023
For the uninitiated, former Lakers guard Alex Caruso was previously indicted for receiving an “honorary plate to go” on the team as a struggling player loved by his teammates. Now another Los Angeles player has that honor.
Austin Reaves, who was hired by the Lakers after being undrafted in the 2023 NBA Draft, has carved out a role similar to Caruso during the early part of the 2023-22 season.
That dagger triple was the fifth of that player’s game in just six attempts, as he scored all of his 15 points from beyond the arc in the Lakers’ 107-104 last-second victory over the Mavericks.
Having played in 17 of the team’s 29 games, he is averaging 5.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 19.7 minutes per game, and Los Angeles coach Frank Vogel has called his impact “outstanding” on both sides of the ball.
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“Teams think they can target him, but he really moves his feet well, puts his body in front of the ball and plays hard and hitting in fumble situations,” Vogel told Silver Screen and Roll. “He just plays a rudimentary style (of basketball), and offensively, the poise with which he plays offensively is very surprising for a rookie.”
As of November 8, Reaves’ net rating is the best of any Laker at over 9.8. Meanwhile, his match with superstar forward LeBron James is a staggering 14.7.
Reaves ‘impact could continue to play a role in the Lakers’ quest for their second NBA title in three seasons. Who exactly is Reaves and what is his experience as a player?
Who is Austin Reaves?
After a four-year college career that included stints at Wichita State and Oklahoma, Reaves was not selected in the 2023 NBA Draft, eventually signing a two-way contract with the Lakers on August 3, 2023.
Reaves then stood out in the Lakers’ summer league season in Las Vegas, averaging the second-most points (11.4) and most rebounds (6.2), assists (3.2) and steals (3.2) on the team at 22.2. minutes per game. He landed a standard contract with the Lakers on September 27 and made his NBA debut on October 22, scoring eight points on 3-of-4 shooting.
“He’s done enough to earn my trust,” Vogel said during the Lakers’ preseason. “I can say a lot. I feel good about everything he does. He really competes and knows where to be on the defensive. “
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After spending his first two seasons with the Shockers, Reaves transferred to Oklahoma for his last two college seasons in 2019-20 and 2020-21, respectively. In his first season, he was inducted into the Big 12 All-Newcomer team after averaging 14.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game for a team that was 19-12.
Last season, Reaves led the Sooners to the NCAA Tournament while averaging the best 18.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. He was named to the All-Big-12 first team at the end of the season before the Sooners lost to Gonzaga in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
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Reaves was previously unrated at Cedar Ridge High School in Newark, Arkansas, where he led the Timberwolves to three state titles. In his senior year, he averaged 32.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game and was named Class 3A state tournament MVP after averaging 43.3 points in four games.
Reaves’ parents, Nicole and Brian, played basketball for Arkansas State, while his brother, Spencer, played college basketball for North Greenville and Central Missouri. His mother averaged 21.3 points per game and earned all of the conference honors in his senior year, while his father tied for third place in the program’s history with 384 career assists.