It’s hard to imagine many people thought Austin Reaves would have a huge impact in the NBA when you consider the Witchita State-turned-Oklahoma product went undrafted before signing a two-way contract with the Lakers in 2021.
It was consequently pretty easy for the guard to surpass the expectations that were set for him when you consider they were practically nonexistent, but it’s hard not to be incredibly impressed by what he’s managed to achieve since making his debut in Los Angeles.
Reaves had a solid rookie campaign but emerged as a serious Sixth Man of the Year contender this season thanks to his stellar contributions off the bench.
On Sunday night, he got his first taste of the NBA Playoffs and played a key role in his team’s win over the Grizzlies by posting 23 points in the Lakers’ decisive 128-112 win—including a couple he scored on the pull-up jump shot that resulted in Reaves proclaiming “I’M HIM!”
Austin Reaves letting the world know 🗣 pic.twitter.com/9y15iGbAh0
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 16, 2023
Reaves has been on the receiving end of plenty of praise from LeBron James (who has been willing to overlook the shade his teammate threw his way when he was a teen).
After the contest, the basketball legend presented him with his newest bunch of flowers during a press conference where he claimed he’s known the 24-year-old has what it takes to make it in the NBA since their first practice together.
LeBron on Reaves: “I knew from the first practice that he wasn’t going to be a two-way for long … I’ve been around the game long enough to know great basketball IQ players … and the (guys) that fit with me.”
He also credited Frank Vogel for putting him on the court last year.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) April 16, 2023
There’s a very good chance LeBron actually felt that way, but it’s also a little hard to believe that’s the case when you consider he has a very, very lengthy history of making some dubious claims concerning his supposed ability to predict the future.
As a result, it didn’t take long for plenty of fans to question whether or not that was actually the case—including plenty of people who posted the exact same reaction after coming across the comment.
“I saw that look in his eyes as an 8 year old kid and just knew he was gonna be my starting shooting guard”
— N/A (@HereTheCope) April 16, 2023
“I knew from the moment he played his first middle school game that he was gonna be a Lakers legend.”
— Brown (@GoodIdeasCost) April 16, 2023
— Luis (@looeece13) April 16, 2023
— ™️ (@apxhalo) April 16, 2023
He probably ain’t capping but I gotta pic.twitter.com/oWDipZaA0A
— NbaHighlightCentral (@NbaHCentral) April 16, 2023
It’s worth noting there are some receipts to back up LeBron’s stance, but it’s also funnier if you pretend there aren’t.