In the Lakers’ 146-141 overtime win over the Nuggets on Sunday, Austin Reaves became the first undrafted rookie in NBA history to finish with a 30-point triple-double. The 23-year-old guard closed out his performance with 31 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists in 42 minutes played. This season finale was insignificant for the organization. Though, history was made for Reaves.
While the Lakers were eliminated from the playoffs last Tuesday, this is still quite an achievement for Austin Reaves. Before Sunday, there were only four players in franchise history to finish with a triple-double in their rookie season: Lonzo Ball, Elgin Baylor, Magic Johnson and Jerry West. After that incredible performance, Reaves is now the fifth player on the list.
"Even though this game really didn't mean anything, it's another opportunity to go out and show what you can bring to the table." Austin Reaves (31 PTS, 16 REB, 10 AST, 2 STL) with @LakersReporter on his incredible performance to close out the regular season. pic.twitter.com/3BV1ss60Vy
— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) April 11, 2022
Moreover, in a post-game interview with Lakers’ reporter Mike Trudell, the rookie said, “Even though this game didn’t really mean anything, it’s another opportunity to go out and show what you can bring to the table.”
The amount of heart the young guard displayed in such a pointless game was one thing the Lakers were missing all season long. In the second half of the regular season, even the most talented All-Star players walked up and down the court with not a care in the world, especially Russell Westbrook.
Austin Reaves is now famous in Los Angeles
Additionally, Reaves made his NBA debut on Oct. 22, 2021. In his first outing, he scored eight points off the bench. However, the Lakers went on to lose this contest 115-105 against the Suns.
Prior to earning his first career triple-double on Sunday, the guard put up a then career-high 15 points versus the Mavericks on Dec. 15. In the Lakers’ 107-104 victory over the Mavericks, the rookie sank the game-winning shot from behind the arc.
In a total of 61 games played this season, the 6’5” guard averaged 7.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. Austin Reaves finished the 2021-22 NBA season shooting 45.9% from the field and 31.7% from downtown. The rookie also has a funny nickname. He was known as ‘Hillbilly Kobe’ at Oklahoma.
During Reaves’ years in the NCAA, the guard was selected Big 12 All-Newcomer Team in 2020 and first-team All-Big 12 in 2021. Furthermore, on Aug. 3, 2021, the guard signed a two-way contract with the Lakers’ organization. Then, on Sept. 27, his two-way contract was converted to a regular contract.
To add to the information above, this was a terrific accomplishment that came at the wrong time. Per sources, head coach Frank Vogel has been fired by the Lakers. This breaking news story will definitely overshadow Austin Reaves’ career performance from Sunday’s game. But, the die-hard fans will never forget it.