Dave McMenamin recently reported that Los Angeles Lakers forward Rui Hachimura has been changing up his practice schedule and meeting up with teammate LeBron James.
“A guy who LeBron’s already rubbed off on, Rui Hachimura has been changing up his practice schedule leading up to the season and meeting LeBron at the gym in El Segundo for 7 a.m. workouts,” McMenamin said.
Hachimura was selected with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft after a three-season stint playing college basketball at Gonzaga University and has played for two teams — the Lakers and Washington Wizards — across his four seasons in the NBA.
He averaged 9.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 0.7 assists per game in 33 appearances with the storied Lakers franchise during the 2022-23 regular season. The 6-foot-8 forward also shot the ball with solid accuracy from the field, seeing as he converted 48.5 percent of his field-goal attempts.
For as solid as Hachimura’s 2022-23 regular season was, he raised his level of play during the 2023 playoffs. Arguably his best series of the 2023 playoffs came against Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round. The 25-year-old averaged 14.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game for the series and shot 56.9 percent from the field and 52.4 percent from behind the three-point arc.
On the other hand, James was selected with the No. 1 pick in the 2003 Draft and has played for three teams in his NBA career: the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and Lakers. He averaged 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game in 55 appearances with the Lakers this past season. Additionally, the four-time MVP shot 50.0 percent from the field and 76.8 percent from the free-throw line.
In his 20th season, James picked up an All-Star appearance — the 19th of his pro career — in addition to being selected to the All-NBA Third Team.
The 38-year-old’s best series of the 2023 playoffs came in the Western Conference Finals against Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and the Denver Nuggets. He averaged 27.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 10.0 assists per game for the series.
James’ heroics weren’t enough for the Lakers to beat the Nuggets, though, as Denver swept Los Angeles in the Western Conference Finals.
Hopefully Hachimura’s time spent meeting up and practicing with James will translate into the former following up his 2022-23 regular season with an even better 2023-24 regular season.