Austin Reaves sends pointed message to haters after helping Team USA to FIBA World Cup semifinals

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves struggled mightily in Team USA’s FIBA World Cup loss against Lithuania on Sunday. He converted just one of his four shot attempts from the field and finished with five fouls in 13 minutes of playing time.

Reaves performed much better in Team USA’s 100-63 win over Italy on Tuesday, though. He was one of the top performers off Team USA’s bench, as he scored 12 points and converted three of his four field-goal attempts, including two of his three three-point attempts. The 6-foot-5 guard also grabbed four rebounds and dished out three assists in the win.

Following his bounce-back game against Italy, Reaves sent a pointed message to haters trying to make him lose confidence in his game.

“You man up, you go watch film and you see the stuff that you didn’t do good — obviously struggled guarding the post,” Reaves said when asked how he was able to bounce back from his performance against Lithuania. “My brother’s boy made a couple good moves. You tip your hat, but at the end of the day, you never lose confidence in what you do as a basketball player, and anybody that tries to make me lose confidence, good luck to ’em.”

Reaves, 25, went undrafted in the 2021 NBA Draft following four seasons of college basketball — two at Wichita State University and two more at the University of Oklahoma — and has played two seasons in the NBA, both as a member of the Lakers franchise. He averaged 13.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game across 64 appearances with Los Angeles during the 2022-23 regular season.

The guard also shot the ball with great efficiency — converting 52.9 percent of his field-goal attempts and 39.8 percent of his three-point attempts.

For as productive as Reaves was during the 2022-23 regular season, he raised his level of play during the 2023 postseason. His numbers improved mightily, as he averaged 16.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game across 16 playoff games and shot 44.3 percent from behind the three-point arc.

The 25-year-old’s best playoff series came in the Western Conference Finals against Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets ended up sweeping the Lakers in four games, but Reaves averaged 21.3 points and 5.3 assists per game for the series.

Here’s to hoping that Reaves will carry over his excellent play from the tail end of the 2023 postseason into the 2023-24 regular season.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.