Gary Payton is a big fan of Austin Reaves’ game and he made sure to let Reaves know after Game 2 against Golden State.
Reaves has been a bright spark for the Lakers this season and has jelled perfectly with incoming players from the February trade deadline, like D’Angelo Russell, and plays well off their superstars LeBron and AD.
His stocks have risen tremendously after he went from being undrafted with a two-way contract, to a bench player and is now LA’s starting shooting guard.
Despite Payton’s son (Gary Payton II) playing for the opposite side, it didn’t stop Payton from giving a rising star, in Reaves, his flowers.
“Come here, Reaves. I like you,” Payton said. “You got some dawg in you. I like that. I like that you got that dawg.”
24-year-old Reaves went on to explain that he wasn’t fussed by Payton’s praise at the time because he was frustrated at the Lakers’ 127-100 loss.
After that though, he was able to reflect on what it meat to have ‘the Glove’ himself take the time to pay him a compliment.
“I was like, ‘That just happened,’ Reaves said. “He’s the dawg of all dawgs. He’s a very, very, very, very established basketball player and defender, and for him to acknowledge what I do is special. Anytime you get that kind of validation from a Hall of Famer or guy that’s been in the league for a long time it means a lot.”
The Lakers cult favorite is averaging 14.7 points, 4.1 assists, and 4.5 rebounds in 11 postseason games so far and it isn’t unusual to see him hit a big shot in key moments.
The University of Oklahoma graduate is only in his second NBA year so if he continues to perform, he could be Laker for many years to come.