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The science behind Austin Reaves hitting the rookie wall, explained

The so-called “rookie wall” that first-year Lakers guard Austin Reaves smacked into at midseason is a real thing. Here’s what the science says about it.

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/NBAE via Getty Images

Lakers rookie Austin Reaves had an excellent season when you look at the full scope of the year, going from an undrafted rookie on a two-way contract, to one flashing enough promising signs in summer league and a preseason player’s only camp to earn a guaranteed contract, to getting spot minutes on a team with championship-aspirations (at the time, don’t flood my mentions please) to earning a starting role and now being considered a key role player for the franchise moving forward.

However, the season didn’t come without its bumps, particularly from late February to late March, when Reaves hit the proverbial “rookie wall” — for more on that in Austin’s own words, make sure to check out this superb piece from Jacob Rude — before later pushing through to finish the season strong, including becoming just the fifth Lakers rookie ever to put up triple-double.

But the idea of a “rookie wall” isn’t a new topic. It’s something that’s discussed every season as it wears on. However, is there actual science that backs it up? I explained in the following video.

So the next time someone brings up the “rookie wall” at the water cooler, feel free to be THAT person who goes into a science-based explanation as all your co-workers walk away shaking their heads and muttering “dude, we just wanted to talk about basketball.”

Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT has a doctorate in physical therapy from Northern Arizona University, and runs his own in-person and online sports medicine and performance business, 3CB Performance, in West LA and Valencia, CA in which he further combines his movement expertise and fitness training. He also works at a hospital — giving him experience with patients in the immediate healthcare setting and neurological patients (post stroke, post brain injury) — and has been practicing for 4 years. Brar is additionally training at UCLA’s mindful awareness research center (MARC), has a background in youth basketball coaching and analyzes the Lakers from a medical and skills perspective for Silver Screen and Roll and on his own YouTube Channel. You can follow him on Twitter at @3cbPerformance.

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