The Los Angeles Lakers walk into the 2023-2024 season looking to top their performance from last year by adding elements that complement their core.
After battling injury woes throughout the 2022-2023 season, the Lakers went on a run to the Western Conference Finals.
Forward Anthony Davis played center last year; the franchise acquired players like Jaxson Hayes and Christian Wood to help him in the front court. Davis praised both Hayes’ ability to protect the rim and Wood’s talents on offense.
“They are two great bigs that can complement me very well,” Davis said. “Having those two guys alongside me could be a great thing, a great possibility of doing good things on that front line.”
Throughout the offseason, forwards LeBron James and Rui Hachimura worked out together frequently. James noted how he and Hachimura has a “Daniel-san/Mr. Miyagi” relationship, referring to the 80’s cinematic classic “The Karate Kid.”
“I see the potential and I know what he can bring to the floor, not only for him individually but for our ballclub,” James said. “We worked every single day … I want him to be as great as he can be, as great as he want to be.”
Hachimura mentioned how assistant coach Phil Handy advised him to work with James.
“Whenever [James is] here, whenever he travels, I just follow him and workout with him,” Hachimura said. “It was a great experience for me and just learning from him of course on the court but off the court like taking care of his body, weight room, all kinds of stuff.”
Guard Austin Reaves averaged 13.8 points and 2.4 rebounds during the FIBA World Cup. He also led the bench in scoring. Reaves talked about how a “structured situation” could help guard D’Angelo Russell.
“He’s a very high-level talent and has done a lot of things in the league,” Reaves said. “Now having an offseason, preseason training camp, all that to build that foundation and give him the sense of mind of what we really are looking for out of him as a team.”
Russell was one of the midseason acquisitions the Lakers made last February; he quickly recognized the chemistry of the team despite some players being new. He also mentioned how this year’s roster has high connectivity.
“Soon as we got on the floor together, we had that chemistry that usually takes a training camp or some months to put together,” Russell said. “Shout out to Rob (Pelinka), he put a nice group together that I think could easily flow together on and off the court.”
The Purple and Gold will be staying local for their preseason games, competing in Las Vegas, Anaheim, and Palm Desert.
The Lakers will begin their preseason at their furthest destination, the Chase Center, battling the Golden State Warriors on October 7, at 5:30P.M.