Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves has been one of the biggest highlights for Team USA in the 2023 FIBA World Cup. USA has only played one official game to this point but Reaves has been a massive standout in scrimmages and exhibition matches to this point.
The last six months have been massive for Reaves as he went from getting the starting nod once Russell Westbrook was traded to being fantastic on a big stage in the NBA Playoffs to continuing that for his country in the World Cup.
Austin Reaves is the real deal. He isn’t just a hype machine. Here is how he compares to his very talented Team USA peers.
Ranking Lakers’ Austin Reaves and every player of Team USA
12. Bobby Portis
Bobby Portis is very much the odd man out on Team USA. This team is filled with young stars looking to prove themselves on the national stage and Portis is the one veteran that is along for the ride.
Portis does not get many minutes in Steve Kerr’s rotation and that is by design. He is there as a locker room presence.
11. Walker Kessler
Walker Kessler is young and has an exciting future in the league. As far as Team USA goes, Kessler has not played much of a role at all in favor of the other talented bigs on the roster.
Kessler very well could be a future all-star one day as he already ranks favorably compared to other NBA centers. However, for Team USA, he ranks second to last.
10. Cam Johnson
Cam Johnson got a big pay day this offseason and there is good reason. Johnson was one of the main returns in the Kevin Durant trade and the Brooklyn Nets are very excited about his future.
While he is a solid player with a very bright future ahead of him, he still does fall behind his Team USA peers and that is okay. There has to be a hierarchy.
9. Josh Hart
Johnson has a higher overall ceiling than Josh Hart but Hart has proven that he is the kind of player that any contending team should want on the roster. He is a competitor and does all the right things to play winning basketball.
Hart has been a consistent staple of the rotation and has played well for Team USA. He is not an all-star but he brings value.
8. Brandon Ingram
This might come as a shock but Brandon Ingram’s stock is really down right now for Team USA. Ingram was not shy in expressing his disappointment with his role, which included him scoring just two points in 15 minutes against New Zealand.
Look, Ingram might be an all-star and there is no doubt that he is talented. But it is worth questioning if he is a winning player. He hasn’t shown it yet, while the players ahead of him seemingly have that trait even if they possess less natural talent.
7. Austin Reaves
Austin Reaves checks in right around the halfway point in this list. Some would call us crazy for ranking Reaves ahead of Ingram but ask yourself this: would the Lakers swap Reaves for Ingram if all things are equal? The answer is not as simple as it seems.
Reaves is only two years into the league and he has already developed so nicely. If we look at past resumes then Ingram gets the nod. But when it comes to being a winning player, and how he may play next season, we are giving Reaves the rub.
6. Tyrese Haliburton
Tyrese Haliburton is one of the best young point guards in the league who gets underrated by the casual fanbase. Haliburton is exactly the kind of point guard that every team should want as he simply makes everyone around him better.
The traditional stats may not jump off the page but Haliburton does all the things that it takes to win basketball games.
5. Jalen Brunson
Jalen Brunson is the slightly better version of Haliburton who plays in a bigger market and has a much better PR team. However, Brunson has also had a head start, and Haliburton could absolutely lap him in the coming years.
Brunson arrived as one of the best point guards in the NBA last season and he has continued his strong play for Team USA to the surprise of nobody.
4. Paolo Banchero
Paolo Banchero is special. When we are talking about pure ceilings, he would probably be No. 1 if not 1B on all of Team USA. Panchero looked really polished as a rookie last season and has been exceptional for Team USA.
As it stands right now in 2023, Banchero is slightly behind three more established guys. If the same roster runs it back in 2024 then he probably will rank higher.
3. Mikal Bridges
Mikal Bridges finally got the chance to spread his wings once he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets and the results were fantastic. NBA fans realized why the Suns didn’t want to trade Bridges as he proved he is a real star in this league.
Bridges has also developed great chemistry with Austin Reaves, which has fans thinking that Reaves may be recruiting him to LA in the future.
2. Jaren Jackson Jr.
Jaren Jackson Jr. has played five seasons in the NBA and has already won Defensive Player of the Year. Even if his offense is not the most explosive, any time you can be the best player on one side of the court that means something.
This experience has been great for Triple-J, who is a great candidate to take that extra leap in his fifth season from stardom to superstardom.
1. Anthony Edwards
Anthony Edwards is the star of this team and this should put him on the map with more casual NBA fans. Edwards is one of the best young stars in the entire league yet seemingly gets overlooked by the mainstream crowd.
Edwards has gotten better every single year for the Timberwolves and after an experience like this with Team USA, it would not be surprising at all for him to be All-NBA First Team and get MVP buzz next season.