Lakers guard Austin Reaves on NBA free company, LeBron James, Alex Caruso comparisons, extra

After going undrafted in 2021, Austin Reaves agreed to a two-way contract on draft night time with the Lakers, performed nicely sufficient to be transformed to a regular NBA contract after coaching camp, and has since earned a bigger position this season to place himself for a pay increase in free company this summer season.

In his first 29 video games earlier than struggling a proper ankle sprain, Reaves averaged 10.8 factors on 52.1 % capturing from the sphere and 39.1 % from downtown. Shortly after, Reaves suffered a strained hamstring and has been out of the lineup since Jan. 4.

With the Lakers on the town for a back-to-back set with the Nets and Knicks, Reaves mentioned classes he discovered from LeBron James, Alex Caruso comparisons, his upcoming free company, and extra with HoopsHype.

What went by way of your thoughts going undrafted on the journey to make your NBA dream a actuality?

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports activities

Austin Reaves: I used to be pissed, to be sincere. Clearly, I didn’t really feel like there have been 60 higher gamers, however the draft’s not all about expertise at that second. It’s about potential and stuff like that, most likely after 25 (decide). I wasn’t comfortable, however I knew I used to be going to have a chance, and that was all it was going to take, somebody giving me a chance to go show myself.

After that, the Lakers and Frank Vogel gave you that chance on the two-way after which getting that Lakers contract. What went by way of your thoughts throughout that course of?

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports activities

AR: I assumed it was loopy, particularly with the staff we had final 12 months. We had arguably six or seven Corridor of Famers on that staff who had been within the league for over 10 years. It was an amazing expertise. Coach Vogel was the primary man to essentially give me a chance. I’ve a lot love and respect for him as a result of there have been a number of instances early within the 12 months when he didn’t should go along with me and provides me a chance due to the personnel we had on the staff, however he thought it was finest for the staff and it labored out for me. Plenty of reward for him. The entire 12 months wasn’t the 12 months we wished to have, however for me getting that 12 months and studying how the NBA works have been massive.

What classes have you ever discovered from LeBron James that stick to you?

Meg Oliphant-Getty Pictures

AR: Be your self, and don’t attempt to be anybody else. All people will get to this degree for some motive. You’re clearly actually good at basketball, however you’re actually good at sure issues. Not everybody goes to be a star, and also you’ve received to appreciate that whenever you get to this degree and work out the place you’ll be able to slot in and what you are able to do to assist the staff achieve success. That was the primary factor. Be your self and luxuriate in it.

What number of guys tried to speak trash to you as an undrafted man?

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports activities

AR: Actually, it wasn’t as dangerous as I assumed it might be. I get it every so often. One factor about me is I’m not going to again down. I like aggressive nature and those who go at me as a result of I really feel like I can maintain my very own and reply to that problem. I don’t speak a lot. You’ve received to say one thing to me earlier than I say something, and often it’s on the defensive finish. I don’t speak that a lot on offense.

What are the largest causes you suppose you’ve improved this season and a bigger position?

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports activities

AR: I feel it’s that additional 12 months of expertise. You possibly can speak in regards to the 82-game season, however when you undergo it — and I had some accidents and DNPs — till you undergo the journey and all that, you get extra comfy. Whenever you get comfy, the higher you’ll play.

Now that you just’ve established your self as an NBA participant, what targets do you’ve gotten for your self trying forward?

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports activities

AR: Win, actually. That’s all I care about. I feel whenever you’re successful as a staff, everybody appears good on the staff, regardless in case you’re averaging 25 or 10 factors. Should you’re successful, you’re doing one thing proper. It’s all about successful for me. On prime of that, I wish to get higher yearly and don’t get complacent about the place I’m at skill-wise and even IQ-wise. You possibly can all the time be taught. I’ve received arguably the most effective IQ man (LeBron James) to ever play the sport, so I’ve discovered from him.

It’s additionally an enormous contract 12 months for you. What have you considered your future?

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports activities

AR: I don’t actually suppose that far forward. I’m simply attempting to win video games. I like being in Los Angeles, and I like being a Laker. Kobe Bryant was my favourite participant rising up, so getting a chance to play for the Lakers is an enormous blessing.

More: Austin Reaves ranks 30th overall in our HoopsHype free agent rankings

On Twitter, individuals will point out you with Alex Caruso. What do you consider that?

AR: Completely totally different gamers, however we’re guys that performed on the Lakers, and we’re white. We don’t actually look athletic. He’s athletic, however I’m not that athletic. I can see why individuals do it, however we’re two completely totally different gamers.

You possibly can comply with Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) on Twitter.

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