After going without a draft in 2021, Austin Reaves ended up signing with the LA Lakers. The Purple and Gold decided to offer Reaves a two-way contract that would allow him to play for both the main roster and their G League affiliate.
Ultimately, his number was called for a total of 61 games last season and became one of the Lakers’ trusted bench players. But how exactly did Reaves make it to the NBA?
Let’s take a look at Austin Reaves’ basketball career.
Austin Reaves’ NBA journey
Austin Reaves is a 24-year-old NBA guard playing in his second season with the LA Lakers. But before we look at his professional portfolio, let’s focus on how he got to the big leagues.
Austin Reaves attended Cedar Ridge High School in Newark, Arkansas. He won back-to-back Class 2A state championships in his first two seasons. One of the greatest highlights of his high school career was when Reaves scored 73 points against Forrest City High School in triple overtime.
As a senior, he led his team to the Class 3A State Championship with averages of 32.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game. After scoring 43.3 points per game in four games, Reaves was named the state tournament MVP. Additionally, he was named Class 3A All-State twice. To sum things up, Reaves was basically one of the best players of his time.
When Reaves got to college, he ended up playing for two schools. In his first two seasons, he played for Wichita State where he played a much smaller role compared to what he was used to in high school.
Reaves averaged 6.1 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists. This is not surprising as many high school students typically adjust to college basketball.
He then transferred to Oklahoma in 2018 but did not play until the 2019-20 NCAA season. Reaves’ stats improved dramatically as soon as he played his first game with the team.
He averaged 16.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists over two seasons with Oklahoma. Reaves then announced his entry into the 2021 NBA Draft.
In the end, Austin Reaves went into wrestling, but there was a big reason behind it. According to Silver Screen & Roll, Reaves turned down an offer to sign from the Detroit Pistons. This was because the LA Lakers called him up before draft night, guaranteeing a two-way contract deal if Reaves didn’t go.
Reaves outlined the nightly story during an appearance on the “94 & More” podcast.
“The night before, the Lakers had called,” Reaves said. “And said if for some reason I went undrafted, they wanted to be the first place to say ‘hey, we’ve got a two-way for you. And so when we went to the draft, we knew that I was getting a two-way contract in LA, so we were in a good place with contract stuff and stuff.”
“So going into the draft, we didn’t really push. I think Detroit called at like 41 or 42, whichever they had the pick, and were like, ‘we’ll take him twice,’ and it was really just more of a situation where I wanted to be where we saw the best. match.”
Austin Reaves’ decision paid off in the end as he now plays an important role in the LA Lakers rotation. He is one of the team’s most reliable players, averaging 9.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and two assists per game this season. Reaves is efficient from the field at 51.1%.
By far his best game was when they defeated the San Antonio Spurs on November 20th. He scored 21 points and shot 7 of 11 from the field. Reaves is known to be a wild card as he comes up with impressive plays out of nowhere. He constantly goes for the ball, grabs some important rebounds and is adept at finishing at the rim. The Lakers are undoubtedly happy to have him on the roster.