NBA players, often hailed as the pinnacle of basketball talent, showcase their skills on the grand stage, but representing their countries in international play brings unique challenges. Los Angeles Lakers’ Austin Reaves, selected to join Team USA for the FIBA World Cup, sheds light on the differences in preparation and playstyle between the NBA and international tournaments.
Reaves, a fan favorite, earned his spot on Team USA through his distinctive style and swag on the court. However, he recognized the need to adjust his approach for international competition. He highlighted the heightened physicality of the game and the increased bumping and hustle that characterize FIBA play compared to the NBA. Reaves also pointed out a notable rule difference, mentioning that goaltending is not called as it is in the NBA, leading to a shift in his understanding of certain plays.
Despite the differences, Reaves emphasized that basketball remains at the core, and he acknowledged that these adjustments are part of the game. He succinctly stated, “It’s a little more physical… It’s just a couple of things you just kinda get used to. Overall, it’s still basketball.”
Looking ahead to the FIBA World Cup, Reaves and Team USA are eager to reclaim their status as the dominant force in international basketball. After being dethroned by Spain, Team USA carries a determined spirit and a chip on their shoulder into the upcoming tournament. As Reaves adapts to the nuances of international play, his presence on the court and his ability to adapt could play a crucial role in Team USA’s quest for victory and redemption.
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