WATCH: LeBron James Asks Lakers Rookie Austin Reaves to Join in a Shootaround Only to Lose to Him

Published 10/18/2021, 12:00 AM EDT
Oct 3, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard slaps hands with LeBron James before the start of the Lakers preseason game with the Brooklyn Nets at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports


The Lakers are facing injury woes heading into the 2021-22 season. So they’ll want their rotation players to take one for the team and deliver when the veterans hit the bench. But for that to happen, they must undergo enough practice and that’s exactly where LeBron James is helping out his young guns.

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LeBron, with his strategic mind working like a chess player, has always been good at recognizing talent. He has an eye for greatness and perhaps he sees something in Rob Pelinka’s finding of Austin Reaves.

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LeBron James making way for the Lakers rookie

During a recent Lakers practice, LeBron James called Austin Reaves to take shots alongside him. The 23-YO was quick to follow King James’ orders and took to the court. He alternated the passes to the veteran and the synchronized workout saw him coming out on top of his mentor.

Surprisingly, the L-Train went 12/19 from the corner and clocked 63.15% of his attempts. On the other hand, the young, unpolished gem got himself a crazy 15/17 (88.2%) conversion rate. While they were just the practice shots, it showed how young Austin was itching to make attempts and prove his talent to the main man. Take a look – 

Well, it’s great to see Austin not getting intimidated or under-confident after a poor night from the long-range against the Kings. It seems like LeBron is grooming his successor in this boy from Arkansas. 

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How good is Austin Reaves?

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A 6’5” cute-faced guard, Austin previously played basketball for Wichita State and then for the Oklahoma Sooners. Coach Lon Kruger shaped him enough nicely that he entered the 2020-21 All-Big 12 after averaging a career-best 18.3 points in 25 games. So even as he went undrafted, the Lakers gave him a two-way contract that got him entry to the summer league.

Jan 23, 2021; De’Vion Harmon (11) and guard Austin Reaves (12) celebrate after a score against the Kansas Jayhawks during the second half at Lloyd Noble Center. Oklahoma won 75-68. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

After proving his worth in the California Classic against teams like the Miami Heat, the man delivered in the preseason too. He averaged 7.5 points, 2.2 rebs, 2.8 assists, and 1.2 steals to mark the fortnight. Occasionally, he took corner shots on LBJ assists and ran offense like a pro. 

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So with Trevor Ariza and Talen Horton-Tucker dealing with injuries, coach Frank Vogel might want to place his bets on this young horse. Do you also see a huge season for the Newark’s shark? Help us know in the comments section below.

Watch this story: The Big Threes to Watch Out For in the Upcoming 2021-22 Season

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Sourabh Singh

1739 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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