Published on TheRinger.com, December 15, 2021
Austin Reaves took his customary seat in the back row of the Lakers’ meeting room while the team reviewed film from the previous night’s game against Oklahoma City. Lakers coach Frank Vogel paused the tape on a clip of Reaves defending Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who had the ball on the right wing.
“Should we double? What do y’all think?” Vogel asked the group. Essentially, Vogel was asking if Reaves would need help—or if he would be able to handle the assignment by himself.
LeBron James was the first to speak up, according to Reaves, asserting that he could take SGA by himself. A chorus of agreement poured in, with multiple players saying: “No, he can guard him.” Then Trevor Ariza chimed in: “This motherfucker can guard him,” Reaves remembers Ariza saying. “We don’t need to [double].”
“We said, ‘Helllllll no,’” says guard Malik Monk, one of Reaves’s closest friends on the team. “We seen from the get-go that he’s a competitor. He’s not going to let nobody step over him.” (READ FULL STORY HERE).