February 7, 2023

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Rui Hachimura Traded to the Lakers: How the Move Helps Los Angeles Now and Later

In finalizing the deal for Rui Hachimurathe Los Angeles Lakers They are doing their long-awaited wing upgrade – both for this season and in the future.

After months of deliberation over finding the right player and the right deal, the Lakers opportunistically struck Hachimura, the No. 9 pick in the 2019 NBA draft. He became increasingly unhappy with his contract not being extended and his role reduced this season with the Washington WizardsAl-Douri’s sources confirmed the athlete. Lakers shipped Kendrick Nunn The three teams announced in the Washington second round on Monday.

The Lakers and Wizards have been discussing the deal for days with draft compensation being the primary bargaining point, according to league sources. the athlete It was reported last week that Washington was exploring possible trading destinations for Hachimura.

The soon-to-be 25-year-old Hashimura has the size (6-foot-8, 230 pounds), height (7-foot-2 wingspan), and athleticism that the Lakers desperately need in the frontcourt. His ability to play at any of the forward points helps balance out the positioning structure of the list. It is unclear if Hachimura will start on Day 1, but expectations are that he will start after that LeBron James And Anthony Davis Several team sources told that once the rotation was settled the athlete.

Hachimura’s acquisition does not preclude the Lakers from making another deal before February 9th. They enter the next two weeks or so armed with two first-round picks (2027 and ’29) and three players (Patrick BeverlyAnd Looney Walker IV And Russell Westbrook) They can use identical salaries when upgrading the list.

With Davis poised to return soon, the Lakers are evaluating the roster and rotation further and deciding whether they want to make a minor or major promotion with their negotiable assets. At this point, their move would most likely be to trade Beverley and a lottery-protected first-round pick for another winger or a frontcourt upgrade. But the Lakers are willing to consider adding more assets to get a better player, depending on Davis’ recovery and the state of the market as the deadline approaches.

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Detroit‘s Bojan Bogdanovic The name is still most often associated with the Lakers in league circles, but the Pistons are looking for an unprotected first-round draft pick, at the very least, in a potential trade, according to league sources. The Lakers would prefer to give up lottery protection first to the 34-year-old Bogdanovic, though that could change when the trade deadline runs afoul.

No matter what happens next, the Hachimura deal is an undisputed win for Lakers Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Rob Pelinka and the rest of the front office.

Relieving their backcourt congestion, the Lakers dumped their less-productive guards for the slight cost of three second-round picks, one of which (2,028) is a trade-in on a pick they originally owned. In turn, they became younger, older, taller, more athletic, and more talented in landing Hachimura, who they could hold onto for several seasons. They’ve shown they’re willing to take in more money — their luxury tax bill increased by nearly $3 million after the deal — for a team that currently ranges between 22 and 25 this season but showed their potential by going 10-9 with Davis out with a right foot injury.

Internally, LA idolizes Hachimura, believing he has untapped potential that he wasn’t able to show with the Wizards after they chose to prioritize Kyle Kuzma And Denny Avdija. League sources said the Lakers are interested in keeping Hachimura and currently expect to re-sign with a restricted free agent this offseason. the athlete. And according to those sources, Hachimura is expected to earn his double-digit annual salary even though it’s well below the $19 million cap.

In 30 games this season, Hachimura has averaged 13.0 points on 55.8 percent true shooting, along with 4.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game (he missed 16 games earlier in the season with a bone bruise in his right ankle). The native Japanese shoots 33.7 percent on 3-pointers, which is lower than the league average, but he shot 44.7 percent from outside the arc last season and 47.0 percent on 3-pointers. This suggests he could shoot better in Los Angeles with James, Davis and Westbrook creating a higher proportion look for him.

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Hachimura performs well on most defensive metrics, ranging from an above-average defender (plus 0.3 in defensive RAPTOR) to a good defender (plus 0.9 in defensive EPM). The video shows a talented, physically gifted defender who can improve his efforts, stability and awareness. The Lakers are optimistic that playing in coach Darvin Hamm’s system alongside veterans like Davis, James, Westbrook, and Beverley will help bring out Hachimura’s unrealized defensive potential.

Durability is a bit of a concern, as Hachimura has never played more than 57 games in a match NBA Season – Although that figure has partially deviated from last season, when, with the Wizards’ blessing, Hachimura missed the first 39 games of the season to tend to his mental health.

At a minimum, Hashimura’s arrival, along with Noon’s exit, would reduce the number of three-guard formations the Lakers use, which would help on glass defense and against teams with multiple wing scorers. The Lakers have had a huge advantage in most games this season.

After allowing 39 second chance points for Memphis Grizzlies Last Friday—the most the team has given up in more than 25 years—James noted that they didn’t have as many 6-foot-8 players and 6-foot-9 players as the Grizzlies. It wasn’t the first time he had expressed his displeasure with the lack of roster length and size this season.

“I think we’re playing three or four at the moment,” said James.

The Lakers have found chemistry with their current starting lineup Thomas Bryantmosques, Troy Brown Jrand beverly f Dennis Schroederbut with three important pieces expected to return soon in Davis, Austin Reeves Walker IV, this five starts will always be temporary.

The Davis-James-Hachimura frontline gives the Lakers a versatile trio with size, height, and good athleticism. They’ll be able to shuffle through most games with Davis serving by far as the best senior defenseman Hachimura has played with in his four-year career.

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Hachimura will enter as the third or fourth offensive option in most lineups, though his career average of 16.9 points per 36 minutes ranks sixth on the list behind James, Davis, Westbrook, Schroeder and Bryant.

The Lakers’ cost is Nunn, who’s been playing better lately, but he’s the odd man out when the Lakers are at full steam. With Reaves and Walker IV soon back, Nunn, 27, was the team’s sixth point guard at best, behind Reaves, Schroeder, Walker IV, Beverly and Westbrook. He’s struggled to make an impact and find rhythm this season, connecting just 32.5 percent of 3s. next to whom Damien JonesNoon was the most underrated player on the Lakers’ 14-man roster.

Realistically, this was as good of a trade as the Lakers were going to find in exchange for Nunn and several second-round picks. It’s possible they may have found their start for the future, depending on how Hachimura fits in, the rest of their business and how the free agent market plays out this summer.

The 12th-ranked Lakers are just one game behind the No. 10 seed and two games behind the No. 6 seed. With James and Davis both playing like top 10 players this season, they loom as the potential lower-ranked opponent that no one wants. facing him in a series of seven matches – as long as they can get there.

This move helps them get closer. While it’s not the kind of blockbuster deal that could push the Lakers into contention, it’s a step in the right direction for the Lakers with minimal downside.


Related reading

Harper: Lakers, Wizards swing trade for Rui Hachimura: scores and reaction

Leroux: In the Rui Hachimura trade, the $18.8 million cap looms large for the Lakers

Sharanya Waldridge: Wizards trade Rui Hachimura to the Lakers: Why the deal makes sense for him

(Photo by LeBron James and Hachimura: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)