While it wasn’t needed after his regular season and especially postseason performance, there was perhaps no better validation of how good of a player Austin Reaves has become than his selection to Team USA for the FIBA World Cup. While it is a watered-down roster, it is still a team full of talent.
Over the weekend, Team USA head coach Steve Kerr and managing director Grant Hill spoke to the media, including discussing Reaves.
Asked USA Basketball men's national team head coach Steve Kerr and managing director Grant Hill about identifying Lakers guard Austin Reaves for the 12-player Team USA roster for the 2023 FIBA World Cup.— Khobi Price (@khobi_price) July 7, 2023
Steve called Austin "one of the rising young players in [the NBA]". pic.twitter.com/ZJM512pFCR
Because Twitter is Twitter and for those that may not be able to see, here are the quotes from both Kerr and Hill on Reaves as well.
Kerr: “For me, after watching him kick our butt for six straight games in the western conference semis, it was a pretty easy choice.
“I think Austin is one of the rising young players in this league. What you look for in FIBA is versatility. You want size defensively, the ability to switch and guard multiple positions and you want playmaking. You want guys who can make shots but also put the ball on the floor and are good passers. Austin is just, to me, he’s a basketball player. He’s a guy who impacts winning at a really high level.
“His story is pretty amazing given that he was undrafted two years ago. Now, here he is, playing for Team USA and being one of the Lakers’ top-three players. It’s not an accident. This guy can play and we have no doubt he’s going to make a big impact for our team in the Philippines.”
Hill: “To piggyback on what Steve said, I agree with everything. And I’ll just add when you look at his story and see how he has kind of busted down the door and created an opportunity for himself on the NBA stage, there’s a real toughness that goes with that feel, shooting, playmaking and everything Steve alluded to. That mental, physical toughness that he’s shown, in addition to everything else Steve said, will certainly be an added bonus. [He’s] unafraid, but also a guy who has an incredible IQ and feel for how to play. Looking forward to seeing him with the rest of the team.”
It will be interesting to see what role Reaves ends up with on Team USA. As impressive as he may be, he’s going to have to beat out a lot of very talented guys to get playing time. Jalen Brunson, Tyrese Haliburton, Anthony Edwards and Josh Hart all are fellow guards on the roster.
Being part of the team, though, is a big win for Reaves and will be a great experience for him if nothing else. He certainly has the talent to carve out a role in this team, but getting there and being part of this team is a big step in his continued ascension in the NBA.
Plus, this is ample opportunity for him to start building a superteam in the future. So many previous NBA superteams were formed after time spent together with Team USA.
Who would be the most intriguing to begin recruiting? Maybe he links up with Hart and Brandon Ingram to bring them back home. Maybe he makes Paolo Banchero the latest Magic player to jump to Los Angeles and win a title. Or perhaps he goes for the big fish in Anthony Edwards or Tyrese Haliburton to create a backcourt of the future.
Whatever the end result may be, Reaves has proven he’s a talented player in the league and is earning the attention of plenty of people across the league.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.