Lakers News: Rui Hachimura Credits Phil Handy For His Hot Postseason Shooting
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers made a surprising move at the trade deadline last season by acquiring forward Rui Hachimura from the Washington Wizards. The Lakers traded guard Kendrick Nunn and two second-round picks for the former lottery pick and little did fans know, he would play a vital run in last season’s postseason run.

Hachimura showed flashes during his time as a Wizard but it felt like there was a part of his game that hasn’t been tapped into yet. He struggled shooting-wise through the regular season, which could have been attributed to his inconsistent minutes.

But in the playoffs, Hachimura would shoot the lights out from downtown, averaging a ridiculous 49% from deep on 2.4 attempts per game. His best performance was in Game 1 on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies, putting up 29 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the 3-point line.

However, after re-signing with the Lakers, Hachimura gave all the credit of his hot shooting games to assistant coach Phil Handy, via Spectrum SportsNet:

“I actually want to give credit to Phil [Handy]. During the season, I was struggling with the threes and he was telling me when we really need it in big playoff games, it’s going to be all the shots for me. So, I got to be ready and in practice, I got to shoot like it’s a big game, big shot. Those actually helped me, just being confident and D’Lo and LeBron, they always make a good pass to me, so that actually helped me.”

After coming up short in the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets, fans realized how vital it was to keep Hachimura a Laker moving forward. Similar to guard Austin Reaves, some expected a market for Hachimura due to his postseason play, but nothing materialized.

The Lakers came to terms on a three-year, $51 million contract with the restricted free agent later on Day 1 of free agency. With now the rest of the summer ahead of Hachimura and potentially solidified starting spot waiting for him, one can imagine that Handy will make sure he is ready for next season and build upon this playoff run.

Rob Pelinka grateful to successfully execute ‘pre-agency’ plan

Lakers general manager Pelinka made it clear that the goal was to keep the core of the team heading into this offseason. One of those pieces was Hachimura and he was able to keep Reaves and guard D’Angelo Russell on good value contracts, as well.

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