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LeBron James has an unblinking eye for talent

ausin reaves

Everyone's eyes will be locked on the Hall of Fame haul of the Los Angeles Lakers. Fans and critics want to see if this major experiment would work or fall flat on its face. Amid all the hype, there's one player that may just be the X-factor for the Purple and Gold in the 2021-22 NBA season. That's none other than Austin Reaves, an undrafted prospect whose contract was upgraded from a two-way to a standard one. His performance spoke for itself. But he might have gotten a little nudge from LeBron James.

Reaves impressed the Lakers' coaching staff and players with his play during the team's minicamp and Las Vegas. Vogel praised the Oklahoma Sooners' defensive instincts as well as offensive versatility. These were the factors on why the Lakers decided to upgrade his contract. However, James revealed that he also looked at some game film apart from seeing Reaves up close. In his 19th year in the league, James proves why he's a basketball savant. Every little piece of the puzzle is important.

"That's he's an NBA player," LeBron said when asked about what Reaves showed in Vegas. "He can play at this level, play at a high level. I watched a lot of film on him when we [signed] him actually. I knew right away that he could be an NBA player at this level. His size, his shot-making ability, his pick-and-roll play, his passing. High-IQ kid and he got a lot of dog in him, too. That transfers to our game," per Ron Gutterman of Lakers Nation.

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Reaves is averaging eight points, 1.6 rebounds, two assists, and 1.4 steals across 20 minutes of action in five preseason games. So far, so good. There's much more room to improve for Reaves. James and the Lakers were right in their reading of Reaves' potential.

That is not the first time James showcased his unblinking eye for talent. James was also the one responsible for bringing Talen Horton-Tucker into the team. Unlike Reaves, James saw Horton-Tucker play when he was still in high school.

"I saw him about three and half, four years ago," James said of Horton-Tucker last year, per Christian Rivas of SB Nation. "I was watching a high school basketball game and I happened to catch Simeon playing. And I told our agent at the time — it's now Talen's agent, Rich Paul — that he needs to take a look at this kid Talen Horton-Tucker that's at Simeon. I think the kid is super talented. This was like four years ago."

The fact that THT was picked 46th overall in the 2019 NBA Draft is proof of James' unflinching eye for talent. Now, Horton-Tucker is seen as an intrinsic part of the Lakers' quest for its second title in three years. It's still a matter of wait-and-see, but there's a good chance that Reaves holds.

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