Team USA appears to be firing on all cylinders ahead of the 2023 FIBA World Cup, and Los Angeles Lakers rising star Austin Reaves is a major reason why.
In Team USA’s most recent exhibition game, the squad earned a win over Germany to conclude the tune-up portion of its schedule. Afterward, Reaves reflected on what it was like to play in Abu Dhabi — the capital of the United Arab Emirates — where Team USA played its last two exhibition games.
“Being in a different country, I was surprised when a fan shouted my name,” Reaves said. “It was special to me and would never take that for granted. One day, I will look back at this moment with a smile.
“This is one of the most important games for us in preparation for the World Cup. We faced a talented team in Germany with them having many NBA players in the squad. This win felt good.”
Team USA went 5-0 during the exhibition stage, a possible sign of good things to come. Reaves left his mark during the five games and finished with 16 points during Team USA’s final exhibition game.
Some folks initially expressed displeasure with Reaves’ inclusion on the team, but he certainly seems to be proving that he’s worthy of his spot on the roster.
As for the Lakers, they’d love nothing more than for the 25-year-old to build some momentum at the FIBA World Cup and carry it with him into the 2023-24 NBA season.
Reaves, who earned a new deal this offseason, has become an irreplaceable piece of L.A.’s puzzle. Last season, the guard averaged 13.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game while shooting 52.9 percent from the field and 39.8 percent from beyond the arc.
Winning a title for Team USA would certainly go down as one of Reaves’ biggest basketball accomplishments so far. The FIBA World Cup is set to begin on Aug. 25, and Team USA’s first game will come on Aug. 26.
Of course, the Arkansas native is probably dreaming of checking multiple boxes in the near future — both by winning a title for his country and helping his NBA team get to the promised land.
The future is bright for Reaves, and he’s getting a chance to show off his abilities on a global stage this summer.