Rui Hachimura says working out with LeBron James made him more confident

Rui Hachimura went through some ups and downs this season. He spent a sizable amount of the opening weeks of the regular season on the injured list with multiple ailments, and when he was on the court, his production went up and down.

But in early February, he gained a permanent spot in the Los Angeles Lakers’ starting lineup. From that point on, he played very well — until the first round of the playoffs against the Denver Nuggets, when he failed to reach double figures in scoring in four of the five games played.

Some have criticized Hachimura as a result and hope the Lakers trade him this offseason. But his talent and skills are undeniable. He is an adept one-on-one scorer, and while he has some trouble guarding opponents on the perimeter, he can at least make bulky big man work to get points in the paint.

He worked out with LeBron James extensively last summer, and he recently talked about how it has aided his game.

Via Silver Screen and Roll:

“Last year, I spent a lot of time with him, work out with him,” Hachimura said. “Especially with him, I feel like he doesn’t work out with other people. I was really appreciative of the time and the energy he spent with me. I learned a lot of stuff. I think I was able to use that this season. I kind of watched him closely. Working out with him made me more confident. Just throughout the season, me and him’s chemistry got much better than last year I feel like. I see his basketball IQ and all that. It’s an honor to be around him, his journey and playing with him.”

Hachimura is under contract for two more seasons after signing a new contract last summer. If the Lakers do end up trading him, it would leave a sizable hole in their frontcourt, despite his flaws.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire