With the 2022 NBA Draft coming up, the Los Angeles Lakers will be looking to strike gold in the undrafted free agent market again since they have no picks.
Austin Reaves proved to be a diamond in the rough who quickly found himself in the rotation due to injuries and his impressive play. Reaves now heads into the offseason with positive momentum and should be a fixture in the rotation once again during the 2022-23 season.
As prospects go through the draft process, Reaves offered up some advice for the ones who find themselves in his situation.
“Go into every workout and play the way that you see yourself playing,” Reaves said in an interview with Lakers Nation. “I went in to a lot of workouts obviously knowing like every team has a guy. You’re not gonna find a team that don’t have a guy that usually has the balls in their hands, scores, assists, does all of it. You really just gotta figure out to be a plug-and-play guy if you’re not a top-five guy out the gate. Eventually you can build yourself up into better roles and bigger roles and do things like that.
“But from the get-go — especially in my situation — it was obvious that I wasn’t gonna get the keys out of the gate. You really just gotta do everything that a lot of people don’t wanna do to be honest. Be the gritty, tough-nosed defender, do all the little things, and really just know the game. I think that’s the main thing. If you know basketball, and you know how to play and you play with these guys like LeBron, AD, Russ, like it makes the game so much easier cause they know the game at such a high level it’s just gonna equal out and you’ll be fine.”
The biggest adjustment for most rookies is going from “the guy” to a role player, and Reaves understood that for him to stick he had to find his niche. Reaves’ rookie campaign is a great example for someone like Jamaree Bouyea, who is looking to make the league, but the rest of the incoming class can learn a thing or two from him as well.
Austin Reaves receives two votes for NBA All-Rookie Second Team
The 2021 draft class looks like it will be a force to reckon with considering how much they contributed from Day 1, but rookies like Reaves also got some much-deserved attention. Despite the Lakers’ lackluster season, Reaves managed to earn two votes for the NBA’s All-Rookie Second Team.
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