Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves reportedly has been “much better” than expected on Team USA this offseason as it prepares for the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
“A player that I had several people say has really impressed them and been, like, much better than they were expecting has been Austin Reaves,” ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on a podcast.
Lakers fans have to love the praise that Reaves has received this offseason, especially since he just signed a four-year deal with the team.
Reaves, a former undrafted free agent, came back to the Lakers in free agency after putting together a great season in the 2022-23 campaign.
During last season, which was just Reaves’ second in the NBA, the young guard showed that he could be an impact player in a bench role and as a starter. He 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, improving in just about every stat from his rookie season.
That performance earned Reaves an invite to the Team USA roster, and he appears to be turning heads with his play.
Reaves made some impressive plays in Team USA’s recent win over Greece.
Austin Reaves is too nice 😮💨🔥 pic.twitter.com/ueB1EPo8tV
— The Laker Files (@LakerFiles) August 18, 2023
The Lakers guard has showcased his passing ability this summer as well, finding Anthony Edwards with a nice dime against Slovenia.
Dribble penetration key for Team USA, good drive and pass from Austin Reaves. Like the cut from Anthony Edwards. pic.twitter.com/yUHpJjSG61
— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) August 12, 2023
As a rookie, Reaves averaged just 7.3 points per game while shooting 45.9 percent from the field and 31.7 percent from 3-point range in the 2021-22 season. The fact that he’s become an important part of the Lakers’ future – and a member of Team USA – shows just how much he’s developed over the past year or so.
Last season, Reaves was instrumental in the Lakers’ run to the Western Conference Finals, taking his game to another level in the playoffs alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
In the playoffs, Reaves averaged 16.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game in 16 games while shooting 46.4 percent from the field and 44.3 percent from 3-point range.
If Reaves continues this upward trajectory, he’s going to get paid a whole lot more money the next time he hits free agency. Luckily for the Lakers, there are still several seasons to go before the team has to cross that bridge with its rising star guard.