'I feel as if I'm the best shooter in the draft': Antonio Reeves ready to bring 'marksman' skillset to Pelicans

Kentucky guard Antonio Reeves is ready to bring his shotmaking ability to the Pelicans, a role that is critical for his new team as well as in the NBA in general.
Oakland v Kentucky
Oakland v Kentucky / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

Being underrated and overlooked has been part of Antonio Reeves' career up to this point. At every stop -- high school, Illinois State and even at Kentucky -- Reeves has rarely been talked about on a national level.

After being selected in the second round of the 2024 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Pelicans, Reeves is excited to get to work and do what he does best -- shoot.

"I feel as if I'm the best shooter in the draft," Reeves said during his introductory press conference. " ... "I give it to Reggie Miller. I watched a couple of his films and stuff and growing up and things like that, and he's a really good shooter."

Last season, Reeves shot 44.7 percent from three, fourth best mark in the NCAA. He hit 84 3s on the season which was just the second time in Kentucky program history a player had 80 or more 3s in consecutive years (80 in '22-'23).

Reeves averaged 20.2 points and 4.2 rebounds a game last year and his point-per-game average was the highest by any player under John Calipari at UK.

While people think 'shooter' only, that's not the case. His overall scoring ability was on full display last year. He was the only Power 5 player and one of just three players in all DI to shoot at least 50 percent from the field, 44 percent from three and 86 percent from the foul line.

“Antonio is a big-time shooter, playmaker,” New Orleans Pelicans GM Bryson Graham said. “He’s a marksman.”

Reeves will join a Pelicans' backcourt that has CJ McCollum, Dejounte Murray and Trey Murphy. All three players have vastly different skillsets but McCollum and Murray play with the ball predominantly in their hands.

Paired with that duo are -- for now -- Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson, two players who also excel with the ball in their hands. So, Reeves' ability to be a spot up shooter is critical.

Last year he shot 46.8 percent in corner 3s --third best in the country. Because of that, he knows there's a real role for him with the Pelicans, and in the NBA in general.

“Whenever he drives, he causes so much attention,” Reeves said of Williamson and other wings. “When guys (help on defense), I can just be wide open.”

Reeves' journey has been a tremendous one to follow and with the next step beginning next month during the NBA Summer League, he'll continue to play with that edge he's brought every time he steps on the floor.