On Friday, Team USA will play against Germany in the semifinal round of the FIBA World Cup. That means Austin Reaves will face his former Los Angeles Lakers teammate Dennis Schroder.
Schroder reportedly tried recruiting Reaves to play with him on the German national team, but instead, Reaves has been shining brightly for the Americans and head coach Steve Kerr this summer.
“Dennis was obviously all year asking me about playing for the German team in the future, and I was open to it,” Reaves said. “Obviously, I told him straight up that I wasn’t going to play this summer because I wanted to rest and we had a long run, it was my first postseason run, and then the US opportunity presented itself.”
Last year, Reaves was able to obtain a German passport since his grandmother is from the country. While Gordon Herbert, the coach of the German national team, said months ago he tried contacting the guard, the guard never responded.
“He (Dennis) was the first person I texted, and I said that I got this opportunity and I can’t say no to it,” Reaves continued. “I just wanted to let you know before it all broke and obviously, he was super supportive like he said congrats and all that stuff so if this didn’t present itself, it was probably something that might’ve happened in the future.”
For Team USA, Reaves has come off the bench and has mostly been impressive. Even when he hasn’t been scoring a healthy amount of points, he has helped the squad get to this point with his passing and ball-handling.
He has truly come of age in the last handful of months. He emerged last season as the Lakers’ third-best player, and after a strong regular season, he upped his game during the playoffs and turned in several big performances on that stage.
The Arkansas native’s ascent has made some, including Los Angeles head coach Darvin Ham, believe that an All-Star berth is in his future. But even if he never gets named to the NBA’s midseason classic, he will still be a big asset for the team thanks to his versatile skill set, and he could still have room for improvement.
Reportedly, the Lakers plan on using Reaves as a point guard more this upcoming season, which could be the type of thing that stimulates some further improvement in his overall production.
He will have plenty of help around him once training camp starts at the end of this summer. Rui Hachimura and D’Angelo Russell, two other legitimate scoring threats, joined the team via trade several months ago. In addition, it took a flyer on Christian Wood, a very capable scorer who can play the 4 and 5 spots, this week.