Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves is a player with a growing reputation across the league, but one of his teammates thinks that he gets discredited because of his skin color.
Lakers veteran guard D’Angelo Russell said as much during an appearance on Patrick Beverley’s podcast.
dangelo russell think austin reaves is a killer
speaks on a time in minnesota where AR almost cooked him off the dribble 😂
pat bev thinks he’s a top 12 IQ guy in the league pic.twitter.com/eq1UDzeHgI
— Coach Rome (@Rome_Beast) August 2, 2023
“They prolly discredit him ’cause his skin color, but he got game,” Russell said. “… A lot of Black dudes in the league got one, maybe one white boy that they know can hang and can get to it at any park back home. I can bring him to any park back home, and he gon’ hold it down.”
Though Russell appears to believe that Reaves might not get all the credit he deserves, the University of Oklahoma product has had a pretty noteworthy offseason so far.
Reaves secured a four-year deal worth a little under $54 million from the Lakers in free agency after committing to play for Team USA at this year’s FIBA World Cup. The 25-year-old seems primed to play a key role for the team, whose opening game will come on Aug. 26 against New Zealand.
The Arkansas native is coming off a 2022-23 season in which he recorded 13.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game while knocking down 52.9 percent of his shots from the field and 39.8 percent of his attempts from downtown.
In the playoffs, he upped those averages to 16.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game on 46.4 percent shooting from the field and 44.3 percent shooting from 3-point range. He and Russell both helped the Lakers make it all the way to the Western Conference Finals, where they were swept by the eventual champion Denver Nuggets.
Just 17.4 percent of the NBA’s players in 2022 were white. Plenty of the league’s best white players are from Europe. Those players include Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic and Domantas Sabonis.
Reaves doesn’t necessarily seem to be one, and things have worked out well for him so far in his career. Some big performances with Team USA would undoubtedly help him get the respect Russell believes he deserves.
Lakers fans are hoping he can use whatever momentum he creates this summer to help the team make it far in the playoffs once again.