The Los Angeles Lakers got an interesting new piece in Rui Hachimura.
The former ninth-overall pick drew some rave reviews during his college days at Gonzaga, showing untapped athleticism and the potential to be an impactful two-way player at the pro level.
His career didn’t get off to the best start.
But to be fair, it’s not like the Washington Wizards have been much of a good team, and they’re not exactly known for their ability to develop young players.
Also, Hachimura was a part of a frontcourt logjam for the better part of his NBA career, so there’s a chance we haven’t seen the best out of him just yet.
So, now that he’s joined a new team with different teammates, a new system, and the perennial expectation of playing winning basketball, the fans and the media don’t expect him to make an impact right away.
However, the Japanese forward believes the transition has been quite smooth and looks ready to contribute from day one:
“I think it’s been great,” Hachimura said postgame. “The coaches and, of course the players they’ve been talking to me during the game, after the game, in practice. Watch a lot of film (…) I think, for me, it’s been easy to get used to this and adjust to this new basketball.”
Rui talks about the transition from the Wizards to the #Lakers and the difference on the court with the absence of AD & Bron. pic.twitter.com/1Yibgb6y07
— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) January 31, 2023
Of course, Hachimura will have a secondary role behind Anthony Davis and LeBron James, but he could still end up being a massive factor for Darvin Ham‘s team.
While not known for his defensive prowess, Hachimura has all the physical tools to become a legit wing stopper and the athleticism to help keep the rivals off the glass, finish in transition, and thrive off LeBron’s playmaking.
The Lakers need all the help they can get to put their early-season struggles behind them, and Rui might be just what they have been craving.NEXT: Kyrie Irving Says What Has Impressed Him Most About LeBron James