The Los Angeles Lakers are coming into the 2023-24 season with designs on bringing home the franchise’s 18th NBA Championship. It will take an entire team effort to accomplish that goal and one player who will be an extremely important piece in that journey will be forward Rui Hachimura.
Hachimura was one of many in-season additions last year who wound up making a huge impact during the team’s postseason run and now finds himself back with the Lakers on a new three-year deal. In fact, he was one of many core pieces from last year’s team who was brought back and that built-in chemistry is already apparent at the start of training camp.
“It’s been great,” Hachimura said when asked how the start of training camp has gone. “I’ve been telling people that we have our core guys back. We added a couple new players, but we still have the same chemistry from last year where we left off. So we’re just still building it and I think we’re just still figuring it out, but I think it’s been great.”
The Lakers roster had seen a lot of turnover over the past couple of seasons and as such, were basically starting from scratch when training camp began. But this season is different as Hachimura, Austin Reaves, Jarred Vanderbilt and D’Angelo Russell are all familiar with the system and playing around LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Should it all come together like many believe, the Lakers will again find themselves on the big playoff stages, a place where Hachimura thrived last season and he’s preparing to do the same this year.
“I love those big stages, big games,” the Lakers forward added. “When I was with the Wizards we didn’t really have a championship goal, but this team of course we have a championship, bigger goals so the motivation is different. Every day, it’s gonna be a long season so mentally and physically I gotta just prepare for it.”
And those championship aspirations are something shared by the entire team.
“Just being around these guys I can tell everybody wants to win. It’s good energy, good vibes. We’re all trying to win, that’s it so it’s pretty good.”
With this Lakers team building on the foundation they set last year they should be able to hit the ground running and make a statement to the rest of the league.
Lakers’ Rui Hachimura grateful to work out with LeBron James this offseason
Well before training camp began, Hachimura was putting in work to get ready for this season and he did so with the best teacher possible in his Lakers teammate LeBron James. And the forward was thankful for 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 [Handy]. Shoutout to him for connecting me.”
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