While Zion Williamson and Ja Morant headlined the 2019 NBA Draft, the draft had other great players. One of the players who’s about to get a fantastic opportunity is Rui Hachimura.
The Washington Wizards didn’t see Hachimura, who they drafted ninth more than three years ago, as a part of their long-term future. According to Lakers Nation, the former Gonzaga Bulldog will be shipped from DC in exchange for Kendrick Nunn and three second-round draft picks.
The Japanese player was playing well off the bench for Wed Unseld before the trigger was pulled. He’s averaging 13 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.4 assists on 49% shooting and 34% from the three-point line.
However, Kyle Kuzma’s arrival due to the Russell Westbrook trade may have spelled the end of Hachimura’s time with the Wizards. The forward is thriving as the tall and athletic co-star to Bradley Beal, which killed off any chances for the Wizards to develop Hachimura.
The 24-year-old forward wasn’t shy about venting his frustrations to the press. During an interview days before the trade, he said he could positively contribute to any team that “wants me as a basketball player.”
OKBET’s basketball analysis team and the Lakers’ biggest fans are eager to see how Hachimura will be able to perform in Tinseltown. Seeing him play alongside superstars like LeBron James and Anthony Davis will be interesting.
His large frame will become an asset for Darvin Ham’s Lakers during late-game situations. While his shooting form could use some work, he’s shooting at a respectable rate. Moreover, the issues with his shooting fluidity can be addressed through coaching.
Hachimura’s Reunion with Westbrook
Rui’s arrival in LA will not only give him a chance to restart his career. It will also reunite him with Westbrook, the teammate whose trade bumped him out of the starting lineup.
ClutchPoints tweeted that aside from Brodie, he’ll be reuniting with Thomas Bryant and Troy Brown, Jr. These four players suited up for the Wizards during Hachimura’s rookie season.
Bryant was a solid contributor in the ten games he played for the Wizards. He worked his way into becoming a key cog for the Lakers whenever Davis is injured. Brown made little impact during his stay with the Wizards. He has since found solid minutes under Ham, providing rebounding and defense for the second unit.
While Hachimura’s reunion with the two might go beyond the 2022-23 season, Westbrook’s situation is hard to call. He’s a terrible fit for the Lakers’ spacing and defense, which only hurts the team considering his large contract.
The Brodie will likely be traded to another team, such as the Spurs. Westbrook is still too valuable of a basketball player to be allowed to walk in the free season.