It was recently revealed that Los Angeles Lakers forward Rui Hachimura had spent much of the offseason working out with superstar teammate LeBron James. This was music to the ears of all Lakers fans as the young forward was outstanding during the playoffs last year and his development this summer will be crucial to the team’s success.
Considering his build and skillset, it made sense for Hachimura to try and learn from LeBron and the Lakers forward revealed that it was Lakers assistant coach Phil Handy who pushed for him to make that happen
“I think it started with Phil [Handy],” Hachimura said during Lakers Media Day. “I know him and Phil have been working out for years and Phil told me after the season that he thinks I should work out with [LeBron] as much as possible and that it’s gonna help my game out. So then I was just trying to kind of see his schedule, he has different stuff going on too so whenever he was here, whenever he was trying to travel, I just kind of followed him [laughs]. It was great.”
Hachimura also made note that it wasn’t just on court work, but the off-court things that he was able to learn from LeBron as well and he was appreciative of getting that experience.
“I appreciate him letting me work out with him, it was a great experience for me learning from him of course on the court but also off the court, taking care of his body, weight room, all kinds of stuff,” the Lakers forward added “And just talk about stuff, basketball stuff. I learned a lot of things from him so I appreciate him and of course Phil. Shoutout to him for connecting me.”
For Hachimura to take that initiative and really put in the work shows how much he wants to improve and LeBron was all too happy to help as he sees great potential in the young forward.
“We’ve worked out together pretty much all summer. I see his potential, and I know what he can bring to the floor. Not only for him individually but also for our ballclub,” LeBron said.
“I call him my Daniel-san and I’m Mr. Miyagi. I call him my understudy. I get him every single day, and we work every single day now while we’ve been together throughout the offseason. I want him to be as great as he can be or as great as he wants to be. I’m excited about what he has in store this year.”
Hachimura has always been extremely talented and he showed flashes last year once he joined the Lakers. Now that he has been able to work with LeBron all offseason, things are lined up for him to take a big leap which is great for both himself and the Lakers as a whole.
Rui Hachimura focused on finishing games for Lakers, not starting them
One question for Hachimura is whether he will be that fifth starter for the Lakers this season. But he doesn’t care about beginning games, only finishing them.
“For me though, starting or not, I think I’m more focused on playing time. Playing time is more important for me,” Hachimura said. “I want to finish the game. That’s my main thing. Whatever the coaches decide, I’m here for. I’m fine with whatever they decide but I want to finish games. That’s my goal.”
It is believed that either Hachimura, Christian Wood or Jarred Vanderbilt will be that fifth starter, but as far as Hachimura is concerned, being on the court in crunch time is most important.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!