Austin Reaves plays exactly like you’d want a role player that surrounds superstar players on your favorite basketball team to play. He’s always giving 110% on the floor, he has a nose for the ball, and he always — whether it be from his intellect, or some otherworldly basketball magic bestowed upon him — finds himself making the right play at the right time. And this all comes from a player that went undrafted prior to his rookie season.
All of those qualities, along with the Lakers jersey that he wears, have beckoned comparisons to one Alex Caruso. Well, all of those qualities in addition to the fact that he’s, well... white.
Let’s not dance around the obvious. That is the most likely reason for everyone to compare the two. Honestly, when you really analyze the games of each player, they’re really not that similar given Reaves’ strong game on the offensive end and Caruso’s own elite specialization on the other side of the ball. Even Reaves agrees that it’s probably the primary reason for the player comp.
But you know who is actually comparable to Reaves? He’s not a basketball player at all, although you might confuse him with one if you saw him walking around the streets of New York. I’m talking about actor Nicholas Braun, more specifically, his character “Cousin Greg” from the hit HBO show Succession.
And before you think I’m creating some story out of thin air to fill time during the All-Star break, you’re wrong! Reaves was asked by Tani Levitt of Los Angeles Magazine about the resemblance between himself and the fictional character, but unfortunately, Reaves isn’t familiar with Cousin Greg’s game:
The comparison is apt. Both men are tall, skinny and moppy-haired. On Succession, Cousin Greg appeared among the sharks of family conglomerate Waystar Royco without a clue about backstabbing, politicking, or even how to dress in an office. With Reaves’ small-town background, aw-shucks smile, penchant for wearing sweats in the evermore fashion-conscious NBA and relative unimportance compared to his NBA teammates, fans felt “the chaotic energy of Cousin Greg” emanating off the Lakers’ #15.
The only hitch in this fanfiction is that Reaves has never heard of Cousin Greg or even watched an episode of the Emmy’s reigning Best Drama winner (like most people). “I might have to now,” he tells LAMag, laughing.
Levitt points out those similarities in their appearances and backgrounds, however, I think there are even more comparisons to be had in the worlds that these two inhabit. If you’re a fan of Succession, you know that Greg weaseled his way into the family at the center in the first few episodes after being completely unknown to the main power brokers of the family business.
“Weasled” may be an unfair way to describe it, as some moments showed Greg masterfully using intuitive, behind-closed-doors tactics to climb the ladder and, eventually, put himself in a very advantageous position at the end of the most recent season. That sort of quick rise compares favorably to the fast ascent Reaves has had to now be one of LeBron James’s most trustworthy teammates.
Of course, there are some differences. I would assume Reaves has never had to, uh, take one for the Lakers team like Greg had to take one for the Waystar-Rayco team in Episode 8 of Season 1 (if you know you know). Also, I assume Reaves would probably be pretty insulted at the comparison upon watching Succession, seeing how unconfident and awkward Greg is despite his success in infiltrating the company.
No matter what, I’m just glad there’s one more person who’s going to introduce themselves to the hilarious and uproarious world of Succession. Everyone should be watching. Austin, I know you don’t get your big payday until this summer, so let me know if you need my HBO Max login.
You can follow Donny on Twitter at @donny_mchenry.