Even though his scoring average didn’t reflect it, Rui Hachimura made significant strides this past season. He averaged 13.5 ppg as a rookie and 13.8 ppg as a sophomore, a meagre increase. However, he did it more effectively despite facing a larger Wizards bench and playing alongside Russell Westbrook, who, like him, prefers the midrange.
Hachimura improved greatly on defence and was often the Wizards’ best all-around defender. He won games despite going up against formidable opponents like Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard. On defence, he showed more promise than many had expected from him before the draught.
After a promising first season in the NBA, Hachimura will head into the offseason planning to improve his position for a breakout third season. He will be participating in the Tokyo Olympics this summer with the Japanese national team. When the top teams in the world come to the host country, he will be their best player. There will be a great deal of coverage in the media as well.
According to Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard, that was a Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity For Hachimura’s Growth.
“That’s a terrific chance, by the way. Having the eyes of the world on him while competing against the top teams in the world must have been a terrifying experience for him. He will benefit greatly from that, “- Sheppard remarked.
“Having him participate in five postseason games is invaluable experience… Whenever a man experiences that, he is hooked forever. That initial encounter is now in the past. With this knowledge in hand, students may use the summer to hone in on their weaknesses and improve.”
Career of R. Hachimura
In the 2019 FIBA World Cup, Hachimura competed against teams like Turkey, the Czech Republic, and the United States, whose roster wasn’t as packed as usual but still had players like Donovan Mitchell and Kemba Walker. Hachimura’s numbers in the three games (13.3 points and 5.7 rebounds) were quite close to his career averages (13.7 points and 5.8 rebounds) in the NBA. He is, if nothing else, reliable.
But what Sheppard really wants is for Hachimura to consistently perform at the top level he has demonstrated he is capable of. Eleven times this season, he scored at least 20 points, while on 14 other occasions, he failed to reach double digits. His three-point shooting improved from 28.7 percent as a rookie to 32.8 percent this year, but it is still not his strong suit.
Even more variants of Hachimura’s defensive play were seen by the Wizards. The Warriors switched him to Ben Simmons after he struggled against Tobias Harris in the first round of the playoffs despite his strong performance against Durant.
“In my opinion, Rui has demonstrated quite a bit. He has made significant strides. But to earn the respect of your NBA peers, you need to be able to do it night in and night out.
He’s Making Progress Toward that Goal “To Quote Sheppard:
“This isn’t the first year he’s missed a significant number of games. He has not yet seen a schedule with 82 games on it. As a result, next year will bring him even another shock.”
Sheppard elaborated on this last point, saying Hachimura may strengthen his muscles to reduce the likelihood of future problems. Due to the coronavirus shortening his first two NBA seasons, Hachimura has only participated in 105 of a possible 144 games. Since being chosen by the Wizards, he has missed 27.1% of their games.
“We just finished having a conversation along these lines in the dressing room. In the coming cold season, we will be able to deduce your summer activities. Everybody ought to feel better by the end of the summer, “That’s what Sheppard said.
“We’ll be keeping an eye on things, but the players themselves will ultimately decide if and how they want to return for the upcoming season. Prove to your team that you value your time with them by improving your skillset significantly.”