Lakers News: Austin Reaves Never Stopped Believing In Himself Despite Going Undrafted
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Austin Reaves has made himself a beloved fan favorite in just two full seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, and for very good reason. He’s a crafty, high IQ player that knows how to be effective on both sides of the floor, which was on full display last season.

Reaves’ journey to the NBA was an intriguing one after playing for Wichita State for two seasons before transferring to Oklahoma, where he would finish out his collegiate career and declare for the NBA Draft. Reaves then declined an opportunity to get drafted by the Detroit Pistons, instead choosing to go undrafted and signing with the Lakers.

Fast forward two years and Reaves is coming off a great sophomore season, cashing in on a new contract with the Lakers after a great postseason and now playing for Team USA for the FIBA Cup this August. At his first practice for Team USA, the Arkansas native reflected on how he never lost belief in himself on his long journey to get to this point, via Justin Russo:

“I don’t know if I’d say impressed with myself,” Reaves told Russo Writes when asked if he’s allowed himself to be impressed with how far he’s made it in his career in such a short period.

“Because I kind of always felt like it was possible for me. Maybe if no one else believed it, I kind of believed it myself to go out there and figure it out. That was the main thing for me. I knew if I got an opportunity, I would go figure it out. If it was defense or diving on the floor for loose balls, I was gonna find a way to get on the court. So, for me, it was kind of believable for me but a lot of everybody else probably was sitting there wondering how it happened.”

Being an undrafted player, Reaves has had a chip on his shoulder and in a way bet on himself to sign to the right situation and prove himself. He is now heading into his third season and is expected to take on more of a workload ball-handling wise and a consistent scoring option.

While people can take motivation from Reaves’ story, he knows there are other players in the league that followed similar paths as well:

“Yeah, for sure,” Reaves said when asked if he thinks other players can look up to him as a form of motivation for themselves.

“But, you know, me and then you got, what was it, four guys on Miami, maybe more, that were undrafted, went to the Finals, played a big piece of them getting there. Yeah, anytime you hear guys that go undrafted and kind of start paving their way in the league, you know, you kind of gravitate towards them if you don’t know them, just knowing the grind that it was and the kind of disrespect that you got, even if it was high school, college, whatever it was. It’s definitely always good to see that path kind of work for people.”

The Lakers scouting department has gotten it’s props for finding prospects that went undrafted or in the late rounds in recent years, and Reaves is just the latest success story in the organization.

Colin Castleton credits Reaves for laying foundation for undrafted players

Another Lakers player who followed a similar path as Reaves is Lakers rookie center Colin Castleton. They share an agent and like Reaves, Castleton chose to go undrafted this year in order to sign with the Lakers.

In a recent interview with Lakers Nation, Castleton expressed appreciation to Reaves for laying the foundation for undrafted players to be successful in the NBA.

Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!

You May Also Like

Rajon Rondo Confident Lakers Will Reach Playoffs Because Of LeBron James’ History

The Los Angeles Lakers are hopeful to get Rajon Rondo back Thursday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves, but LeBron James has already been ruled out. The…

Lakers Draft Rumors: Lonzo Ball Considering Talking To Other Teams With Lottery Picks

After the 2017 NBA Draft order was officially set, LaVar Ball, father of draft prospect Lonzo Ball, told Lakers Nation his son would only be working out for the Los Angeles Lakers…

Lakers News: Giannis Antetokounmpo Names Six Best Players In NBA History

While the NBA remains in hiatus due to the coronavirus, social media has been a way for a number of players to stay busy…

This Day In Lakers History: Kobe Bryant Passes Michael Jordan On NBA’s All-Time Scoring List

Back on Dec. 14, 2014, Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant made NBA history in a game on the road against the Minnesota Timberwolves…