Reaves was excellent against the Grizzlies in Game 1. The 24-year-old rising star finished with 23 points while shooting an efficient 8-of-13 from the floor and 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. Young believes Reaves is going to get paid this summer in restricted free agency and the Hawks star is probably right.
Behind Reaves’ strong game, the Lakers defeated the Grizzlies in Game 1 by a final score of 128-112 to take a 1-0 series lead. Los Angeles now has home-court advantage in the series.
LeBron James Goes Off About Austin Reaves
LeBron James loves playing with Reaves. The King said the Lakers trust AR, who closed Game 1 with the ball in his hands late in the fourth quarter.
“We trust him with the ball in his hands early in the game and late in the game,” James said after the Lakers won Game 1. “So we got something going in the fourth quarter, and after every stop or if we didn’t get a stop or whatever, I think Jaren Jackson went on like a 5-0 run by himself when we went up seven, we went back to AR and just put the ball in his hands, he was able to hit a pull-up two, able to hit a three when they kind of had a soft switch and then hit another pull-up two to put us up eight. So he closed the game for us offensively.”
Reaves averaged 13.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists for the Lakers during the regular season. The most money Los Angeles can offer Reaves this summer is a four-year, $50.8 million contract if the franchise chose to use his Early Bird Rights, according to a March 20 report from Jovan Buha of The Athletic.
LeBron James Knew Austin Reaves Was Going to Be Special
Reaves went undrafted out of Oklahoma (the same college Young went to) and signed a two-way contract with the Lakers in August 2021. The LakeShow converted Reaves’ two-way contract to a regular contract in September 2021 and the rest is history.
“Well it’s not surprising to me,” James said about Reaves’ stellar play. “I knew from the first practice that we had when we grabbed him that it wasn’t gonna be long, he wasn’t gonna be a two-way player for long. … I’ve been around the game long enough to know great basketball IQ players and I know the type of players that fit with my game and I knew Austin would be that right away.”
Reaves told Shams Charania of Stadium on April 10 that he wants to re-sign with the Lakers this offseason. The Arkansas native grew up a Kobe Bryant fan.
“Yeah I wanna be a Laker,” Reaves told Charania. “Obviously, they gave me the first opportunity. I was a huge Laker fan growing up. Big Kobe [Bryant] fan. So honestly, just to be able to play for the Lakers organization is special and I wanna be a Laker. So hopefully we can get this done and I can stay there for hopefully my whole career.”