Austin Reaves cooks up dream starting 5 for Team USA featuring multiple Lakers legends

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read

Austin Reaves stayed loyal to his NBA club when asked to name an all-time Team USA lineup with himself included, adding multiple Los Angeles Lakers legends to the hypothetical group.

Reaves named Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and LeBron James immediately, then paused a moment before adding Shaquille O’Neal to the mix.

“Definitely gotta go Kobe, M.J., Bron,” he began. “Shaq, I guess? Shaq wear a USA jersey? Yeah, Shaq, definitely.”

The 25-year-old Lakers guard was speaking as a member of Team USA, which is preparing to compete in the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup later this month. The Americans have been playing exhibition games in advance of the main competition, which begins Aug. 25 and runs through Sept. 10.

The rising star also was quick to point out he’s heard that there are some big Lakers fans in the Philippines, where part of the tournament will be held.

His dream starting five includes three players who likely would be named in any variation of the exercise, with Bryant, Jordan and James universally acknowledged among the greatest players of all time. O’Neal also had a legendary career and fits perfectly on Reaves’ team among the smaller players.

The former Lakers center recently also shared a hypothetical superteam lineup on Instagram of him, Bryant, James, Stephen Curry and Karl Malone. The Hall of Famer then expressed uncertainty that his group could defeat a team made up of Jordan, Derrick Rose, Julius Erving, Charles Barkley and Hakeem Olajuwon.

Reaves is not quite in the class of those other players but did show some signs of possible future stardom for the Lakers last season, when his play helped them reach the Western Conference Finals. He was rewarded with a new four-year, $53.8 million contract from the Lakers as a restricted free agent this offseason and is a big part of their plans for the future.

The University of Oklahoma product also has been drawing rave reviews coming off the bench for Team USA, with Kyle Kuzma recently praising his performance in an exhibition game against Spain.

If Reaves’ ability and profile as a player continue to rise, maybe he will be named to someone else’s dream starting lineup at some point in the future.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. He remembers the birth of "Showtime" and has always admired the star power the Lakers have brought to the game.