Austin Reaves returns love to LeBron James after receiving massive praise in FIBA World Cup debut

Jason Simpson
3 Min Read

LeBron James and Austin Reaves have formed a nice connection since becoming teammates on the Los Angeles Lakers, and they’re only getting closer as time goes on.

On Monday, James showed love to Reaves as the rising star made his presence felt in an exhibition game for Team USA.

After the game, Reaves returned the favor.

In Team USA’s exhibition game against Puerto Rico, Reaves got 19 minutes of playing time off the bench. He made the most of it, dropping nine points, four rebounds and four assists while shooting 4-for-9 from the field.

He and Tyrese Haliburton, who also came off the bench, looked like a dangerous duo during the game, giving Team USA fans something to be excited about as the FIBA World Cup approaches.

For the Lakers, James and Reaves have proven to be a pretty capable duo themselves. In fact, of all the two-man combinations L.A. rolled with last season, James and Reaves were near the top in terms of productivity, outscoring opponents by 7.5 points per 100 possessions when on the floor together.

The 2022-23 season was James’ 20th at the NBA level. It was Reaves’ second. The two players couldn’t be at further ends of the spectrum regarding the current stages of their careers, but they will both have the same goal in the upcoming NBA season: to bring a title back to Los Angeles.

The Lakers have given themselves a chance to enter the championship picture thanks to a strong offseason, headlined by deals for returning players (like Reaves, Rui Hachimura and D’Angelo Russell) as well as newcomers (like Gabe Vincent, Jaxson Hayes and others).

Health permitting, L.A. has a roster that seems entirely capable of making another run in the Western Conference after the organization finished four wins shy of an NBA Finals bid last season.

For now, Reaves is focused on winning a title for Team USA. The FIBA World Cup is set to begin later this month on Aug. 25 and will extend into September. If Reaves can play well and help Team USA win it all, he’ll have momentum on his side when the 2023-24 NBA season begins.

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Jason is excited about the LeBron James era of Lakers basketball and hopes that the end result will be multiple championships.