Lakers 2022-23 season player grades: Rui Hachimura

new balance


1b6b8126d61914b8222e09c0283dd548

During the first half of this season, as well as all of last season, the Los Angeles Lakers were starving for viable depth at the forward position. They had virtually none, and when LeBron James went to the bench or was unable to play, that lack of depth was glaring.

But in January, they pulled off a trade for Rui Hachimura, who was then a member of the Washington Wizards. He was stuck on Washington’s bench behind Kyle Kuzma and was seemingly going to waste, and it looked like the Lakers needed him more than the Wizards did.

Hachimura immediately bolstered L.A.’s depth, and as a result, retaining him this summer (he’s about to become a restricted free agent) is a big priority for the team.

See also  Two Celtics shifting spots in reassessment of the 2018 NBA draft

Hachimura’s regular season stats in 33 games with the Lakers

22.4 minutes

9.6 points

4.7 rebounds

0.7 assists

48.5 percent field-goal shooting

29.6 percent 3-point shooting

72.1 percent free throw shooting

Hachimura’s 2023 playoff stats

24.3 minutes

12.2 points

3.6 rebounds

0.6 assists

55.7 percent field-goal shooting

48.7 percent 3-point shooting

88.2 percent free throw shooting

Takeaways

During the regular season, Hachimura’s production came and went. There were plenty of extended stretches where it almost seemed as if the Lakers forgot about him offensively, as he was effectively rendered a spot-up shooter instead of featured in their offense.

But that changed come playoff time. He became a major spark plug for L.A., and he started the playoffs with a bang by scoring 29 points on 11-of-14 shooting and 5-of-6 from downtown in its Game 1 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

See also  James Harden re-signing with 76ers on 1+1 contract with $15M pay cut

That turned out to be the first of four 20-plus point games for the Japan native in this year’s playoffs. In particular, he shined brightly in the first round versus Memphis and in the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets.

In addition, Hachimura had some moments defensively. In a March 31st win at the Minnesota Timberwolves, he effectively guarded Karl-Anthony Towns, who is three inches taller and nearly 20 pounds heavier than him. Then against Denver in the playoffs, he found a way to contain Nikola Jokic and prevent the two-time MVP from easily backing him down into the paint.

Final grade: B/B-plus

See also  Nets’ Royce O’Neale says he learned how to adjust after this season

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire

new balance



Source link