In his debut with Team USA, Reaves poured in nine points, four assists, and four rebounds in 19 minutes of action off the bench. He started hot, going 4-for-6 from the floor and, while he cooled off in the second half going 0-for-3 the rest of the way, he proved yet again that he belonged on that stage.
It was so evident that it drew a message from teammate LeBron James praising the 24-year-old Reaves.
“A-R you so COLD man!!! #TeamUSA,” James tweeted on August 7.
By now, James’ affinity for the former undrafted free agent, Reaves, is no secret. And the rising star has been drawing praise from Team USA head coach Steve Kerr for his passing ability, mentioning him and Indiana Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton in the same breath.
“When you have good passers, teams connect quickly,” Kerr said according to an article from Joe Vardon of The Athletic on August 5. “And some of these guys have it come so naturally to them, Tyrese (Haliburton), Austin Reaves – these guys are great passers….The whole group is connected and it’s really fun to watch.”
Reaves spoke on just what he thinks of the combination of him and Haliburton for Team USA.
“I think it’s really just playing basketball,” Reaves said, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN on August 8. “You got guys like [Haliburton], and he knows how to play the game. It makes it a lot easier for you. So it’s really just about making the right play.”
Reaves put everything on display in the “showcase” (exhibition) against Puerto Rico before Team USA’s first official World Cup game on August 26 against New Zealand.
They will also take on Greece (August 28) and Jordan (August 30) in the group play round.
Austin Reaves Used to ‘Giving Them H***’
“I played one year of AAU and I used to start,” Reaves said, per Brendan Brightman of NBC Sports Los Angeles on August 6. “I would walk out on the court, and everybody would be like, ‘Oh, I got the white boy’. And then, three to four possessions later, I’m giving them hell and they’re asking to switch.”
It certainly did not take long for Reaves – who signed a four-year, $53.8 million contract this offseason – to make his mark for Team USA.
For all of the consternation over Reaves’ inclusion on the team, the decision will be proven correct if they can bring home the trophy.
Austin Reaves Looking Forward to Playing With Former Laker
Reaves was asked by Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports who he was looking forward to playing with most, and the response was former Laker Brandon Ingram, now of the New Orleans Pelicans. The former No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Ingram, had 11 points, five rebounds, three assists, and two blocks in the showcase.
“I think Brandon Ingram is – I don’t even know how tall he is. Arms long as s***,” Reaves said. “And just gets to his spot, and he’s never rushed.”
Reaves went on to say that he is looking forward to playing alongside all of his teammates.
“Really everybody, honestly. We’ve got such a talented team,” Reaves continued to Goodwill. “The main thing for us is just to mesh it together. And figure out how to play off one another, and kind of use each other to benefit each other. But I’ll learn a little bit of something from everybody.
That Reaves named Ingram is significant, though, given the latter’s role in helping acquire a key pillar of this current core, Anthony Davis, as a part of the massive trade package that brought Davis to Los Angeles from the Pelicans in 2019.