It might not be the Olympics, but it is still a pretty big deal. Los Angeles Lakers forward Austin Reaves is representing the United States in the 2023 FIBA World Cup just months after a breakout postseason run in the purple and gold.
Team USA, which mostly features mostly younger stars and not the typical Olympic star-studded roster, held its first exhibition game on Monday night against Puerto Rico. The United States routed Puerto Rico 177-74 and Reaves was one of the biggest standouts.
Reaves came off the bench and instantly proved to be a spark plug for his teammates. He headed into halftime as the team’s leading scorer and finished the game with nine points, four rebounds and four assists in limited playing time.
During the game, the broadcast team came up with the perfect two words to describe Reaves, calling the undrafted rookie an “offensive wizard” during his onslaught in this showcase exhibition game.
“Offensive wizard” Austin Reaves drew the attention of the basketball world, including his Lakers teammates
Austin Reaves was not the only player that had a good night for Team USA against Puerto Rico but he definitely had the biggest coming-out party. Players like Anthony Edwards and Brandon Ingram already have a higher profile in the league whereas Reaves is still viewed as this plucky role player.
Any basketball fans that thought the Reaves hype was unjustified were definitely left scratching their heads after this showcase. A lot of basketball fans didn’t realize that Reaves really is this nice and he isn’t just getting the Laker bump.
One person that definitely knows how talented Reaves is is his superstar teammate, LeBron James. LeBron made sure to take time out of his day to shoutout his teammate (who happened to be the only player LeBron posted about during the game).
We have seen talented players utilize situations like this for the national team as a coming-out party of sorts. Of all the players on the Team USA roster, Reaves definitely is the most likely to emerge with a much higher stock than he entered the tournament with.
But this is not a surprise for Lakers fans. Lakers fans know how special Reaves is and know that he can be a legitimate all-star in a short amount of time if he keeps developing. If anything, Reaves outshining some of the best young players in the sport on Monday proved that.