The sight of Rui Hachimura at Japan’s National Training Center in Tokyo on Saturday likely conjured feelings of optimism in Japanese basketball fans who hope the team can shock the world this summer at the 2024 Olympics.

Some think Akatsuki Japan is sending the best team it has ever assembled to Paris, one featuring veteran talent, dynamic young stars, players with overseas experience and a coach, Tom Hovasse, who led the Japanese women to a silver medal at the Olympics in Tokyo three years ago.

The biggest reason, however, is an older and wiser — though still only 26 — Hachimura, a former first-round draft pick and veteran of four NBA seasons. The 203-centimeter Los Angeles Lakers forward is back with the national team for the first time since the Tokyo Games, and he joined his teammates on Saturday at the training center, where Japan held practice to begin the final stage of its Olympic preparation.