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LeBron James says he knew Austin Reaves was an NBA player after one practice with him

The Lakers landed a gem in Austin Reaves, who made quite the first impression on LeBron James in the team’s first practice together.

2023 Play-In Tournament - Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Jim Poorten/NBAE via Getty Images

It had been quite a while since LeBron James had dropped his scouting knowledge and flashed his LeScout persona to the world. Perhaps that had to do with the fact the Lakers surrounded him with old guys for the better part of two seasons, but Sunday offered him the chance to dig deep into the memory banks once again.

After Austin Reaves capped off his incredible fourth quarter to close out the Grizzlies for a road playoff win in Game 1, LeBron took to the podium for his press conference and reminisced about the first practice alongside Reaves.

By #ScoutWithBron standards, this is a pretty tame scouting report. It pales in comparison to the previous instances where he claimed to be recruiting and watching guys in high school like Talen Horton-Tucker. In reality, when he started his answer, I half-expected him to talk about watching Reaves at Wichita State.

In reality, this one actually does have truth to it. From the moment the Lakers got together for their annual mini-camp in Las Vegas before training camp, Reaves impressed. The swiftness with which the Lakers turned his two-way contract into a guaranteed deal before playing any actual games of note should serve as evidence of that.

And in his first preseason, LeBron and Rajon Rondo were ones to come away impressed. Reaves grabbed the opportunity presented to him and didn’t let go, which is a testament to his work and a microcosm of his career as a whole so far.

His rise has been very fast from undrafted free agent to closer in a playoff game. In that sense, maybe it wasn’t hard for LeBron or anyone to spot how good he was from the moment he stepped on the court with the Lakers.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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