Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reeves is one of the dominant names of the season. Because of its disintegration, because of its particularities, because of its history. But above all because of his determination. Because its eruption is almost unprecedented. About two years ago he was an undrafted player. Now he is one step away from the NBA Finals with one of the most prestigious franchises, the Boston Celtics.
The one from Arkansas, who is in his second season in the league and has built a starting five alongside stars like LeBron James or Anthony Davis, is the profile every coach would like to have. A player who could fit into virtually any team. A silent leader who understands the game and the team’s offensive and defensive needs like no one else and executes like a white-gloved assassin.
His path could be an X-ray of a fiction book. He was not selected in the 2021 draft. In 2022 he begins to add weight to the team: first with a dual contract and later with quality minutes in the rotation. And in 2023 we are already facing a reality: averaging 13 points, 3 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 64 total games played during the regular season. And the playoffs, of course.
His story is undoubtedly inspirational. a game example. A player who has earned LeBron James’ respect on the court and who is capable of leading when the game demands it. Taking key shots, actively participating in the build-up to the game and fighting for every rebound despite not being one of the tallest (1.96m).
When one imagines an NBA star, the logical thing to do is to think of everything Reeves is not. “All my life I’ve been the skinniest, not athletic enough and not even skilled enough. Everybody finds excuses. It’s always like we’re going to find something I don’t Couldn’t get over it,” he admitted in an interview for the LA Times.
But the truth is that the young prodigy radiates maturity, flair, leadership, confidence and confidence in all he does. And these playoffs are helping them make their mark. Game 6 against the Warriors is good proof of that. 23 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists… with a 58.3% shooting rate from the field and 80% from the three-point line!
Lakers make history
At the beginning of the season, Darvin Ham’s Lakers had less than a 1% chance of making the post-season. A 2-10 record that seriously jeopardized the future of a historic franchise. Champions in 2020, the Angelenos fell in the first round against the Phoenix Suns the following season and were left out of any option to ring the second. Until the deadline.
The arrival of key assets like D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura, Jared Vanderbilt or Malik Beasley has raised the competitive bar for a team that dominates rebounds and intelligently manages bad moments. A solid team, able to survive against any opponent and in any context.
The Lakers reached the playoffs via play-in: they eliminated the Minnesota Timberwolves and faced the Memphis Grizzlies, one of the hottest regular season teams, and the Golden State Warriors, the current NBA champions, in the first round. But even more epic, is a fact that attests to the heroism of this team: They are the first in the MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL to reach the conference finals while being last in their division.
Darwin Hamm’s team finished fifth in the Pacific with a 43–39 record behind the Kings (48–34), Suns (45–37), Clippers (44–38) and Warriors (44–38), and Nikola Jokic’s Will face the Nuggets. in the finals of the conference.