The NBA announced the 2021-22 All-Rookie Teams and although he did not make it, Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves received two votes for the Second Team.
The First Team consisted of Scottie Barnes (Toronto Raptors), Cade Cunningham (Detroit Pistons), Evan Mobley (Cleveland Cavaliers), Franz Wagner (Orlando Magic) and Jalen Green (Houston Rockets), while the Second Team consisted of Herbert Jones (New Orleans Pelicans), Josh Giddey (Oklahoma City Thunder), Bones Hyland (Denver Nuggets), Ayo Dosunmu (Chicago Bulls) and Chris Duarte (Indiana Pacers).
In addition to Reaves, other players who received votes but did not make the Second Team include Golden State Warriors’ Jonathan Kuminga (47 votes), Sacramento Kings’ Davion Mitchell (28 votes), Rockets’ Alperen Sengun (13 votes), Magic’s Jalen Suggs (six votes), Memphis Grizzlies’ Ziaire Williams (five votes), Pelicans’ Jose Alvarado (two votes), Rockets’ Josh Christopher (one vote), Pelicans’ Trey Murphy III (one vote) and Brooklyn Nets’ Cam Thomas (one vote).
Of that bunch, Reaves and Alvarado were the only players who received votes that went undrafted.
Reaves originally signed a two-way contract with the Lakers immediately after the draft. After an impressive showing in the Summer League and workouts, he wound up having his contract upgraded to a standard NBA contract just before the start of the season.
It didn’t take long for Reaves to crack Frank Vogel’s rotation and he eventually made his way into the starting lineup due to his impressive two-way play. Overall in 61 games (19 starts), Reaves averaged 7.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists while shooting 45.9% from the field and 31.7% from 3-point range.
When Reaves finally got the chance to run the team himself in the final game of the season against the Nuggets, he put together his best overall performance with 31 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists to finish out the year on a high note.
Going into his second season, Reaves’ role with the Lakers should continue to expand, especially considering he has a full offseason to work on his game and his body.
Reaves discusses if he his rookie wall
While Reaves became a mainstay in the Lakers’ rotation, he picked up a couple of DNP-coach’s decisions late in the year. He was struggling at the time so Vogel wanted to give him a couple of games off to regroup.
At the conclusion of the season, Reaves discussed if he believes he hit a rookie wall at that point in time.
“It’s definitely a thing because college, high school you play at max 36 games, maybe 40 and then the NBA as we all know 82 games. I think it’s more of like the mental part of it, or for me it was at least,” Reaves said. “I caught myself just, not checked out, but just mentally fatigued. And like you said you just gotta man up and push through. I just kept reminding myself that playing basketball for a living, I could be doing a lot of other things, but I’m doing what I love and just mentally tried to push through it and leave everything out there.”
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