Austin Reaves has made remarkable strides since his humble beginnings as an undrafted rookie in 2021. In the eyes of many, he evolved into the LA Lakers’ third most-valuable player last season, especially during the playoffs. 4-Time NBA Champion criticizes Lebron James and Anthony Davis for maybe getting in the way of Reaves’ progress and learning.
While some have been taken aback by Reaves’ rapid ascent to stardom, others are not surprised by his achievements. Some even argue that he could become an even more prominent star in the future.
Andre Iguodala shared his thoughts during an interview about what lies ahead for “AR” (timestamp 52:15):
“He’s a lot better than folks thought he was. He’s a real basketball player, and that’s why I’m a fan of his. (For) some teams, he would average more points than he does in other teams. You got some guys that may get in his way. No matter what team he’s on, he’s gonna help you win, which is a telltale sign of what a real basketball player is.”
Despite Reaves’ recent surge in performance, it’s unlikely that he will overshadow the formidable duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis that the LA Lakers are built around. As long as James and Davis remain in good health, the former Oklahoma standout will likely be the third star on the team.
However, James and Davis are not reluctant to share the spotlight with Reaves when the situation calls for it. In Game 1 against the Memphis Grizzlies, a higher-seeded opponent, Lakers coach Darvin Ham designed plays specifically for their emerging guard.
4-Time NBA Champion Criticizes LeBron James and Anthony Davis
“King James” and AD could have questioned Ham’s decision. Instead, they willingly allowed Reaves to seize every opportunity he was given. “AR” made critical shots to secure a road victory against the Grizzlies.
After the game, Austin Reaves repeatedly affirmed to his teammates and fans, “I’m here!” LeBron James and Anthony Davis publicly encouraged “AR” to maintain his aggressive approach, recognizing that opposing teams would adjust their game plan when facing the Lakers.
Andre Iguodala had a front-row seat to witness Reaves’ playoff performance. The LA Lakers eliminated the Golden State Warriors, leading “Iggy” to retirement. While James and Anthony were the primary reasons for the Warriors’ early exit, Austin Reaves played a nearly equally significant role.
Austin Reaves is showcasing his talents on the international basketball stage. When Team USA members were announced, some questioned Grant Hill and Steve Kerr’s decision to include Austin Reaves. Kerr later told reporters that the decision was easy after witnessing the Laker guard’s impressive performance in the playoffs.
Since the beginning of the 2023 FIBA World Cup, Reaves has solidified his role in Team USA’s pursuit of a gold medal. While he may not be part of the starting lineup, he consistently finishes games. Reaves, alongside Anthony Edwards, has been among the most impressive performers for Team USA in the tournament.
Nevertheless, Jonas Valanciunas and Lithuania reminded the Americans that winning the championship would be no walk in the park. Reaves, Jaren Jackson Jr., and their teammates struggled against Lithuania’s size, length, and cohesion. Despite a valiant comeback effort, they ultimately fell short with a score of 110-104.
Team USA’s next opponent in the quarterfinals is Italy. After a subpar performance in the previous game, Austin Reaves and many of his teammates are expected to bounce back with a stronger showing.