Ever since bringing in the superstar duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, it has been the goal of the Los Angeles Lakers front office to surround them with the ideal role players for the team to contend for a championship. That has been an issue the last couple of seasons, but the ideally the trade for forward Rui Hachimura from the Washington Wizards will help to get things back on track.
Hachimura is a former lottery pick in the last year of his rookie contract. The soon-to-be 25-year-old has all the tools to be a valuable contributor for the Lakers both in the present and future, but what exactly his role will be on this team remains unclear.
What doesn’t help matters is the Lakers’ struggles to be healthy, though Davis appears to be on track to returning soon. When that does happen and the Lakers are fully healthy, Hachimura is reportedly expected to start next to James and Davis according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic:
The soon-to-be 25-year-old Hachimura has the size (6 foot 8, 230 pounds), length (7-foot-2 wingspan) and athleticism that the Lakers desperately need in the frontcourt. His ability to play either forward spot helps balance the roster’s positional structure. It’s unclear if Hachimura will start on Day 1, but the expectation is that he will start next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis once the rotation settles, multiple team sources told The Athletic.
With not only Davis but also Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker IV expected to return soon, head coach Darvin Ham will have some decisions to make regarding the Lakers’ rotation once healthy. Hachimura’s ability to defend and rebound makes him a solid fit next to LeBron and Davis and will help massively with the size disadvantage the Lakers often found themselves at.
The key for Hachimura fitting in that frontcourt will be his shooting ability. He is knocking down 33.7 percent from 3-point range this season which isn’t great, but he showed his potential last season when he knocked down 44.7 percent from deep including 47 percent on catch-and-shoot 3s which is where the Lakers will need him to shine the most.
Whether he starts or comes off the bench, the Lakers coaching staff will do everything possible to get the most out of their new acquisition, which could help the team take another step closer to contention.
Rui Hachimura will not make Lakers debut Tuesday night vs. Clippers
Unfortunately, Hachimura will not be available to make his Lakers debut when the team takes the court Tuesday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Due to travel, passing a physical and other logistics that go into a trade, the Lakers have already listed their new forward as out for Tuesday’s contest meaning the earliest he would be able to suit up will be Wednesday when the Lakers host the San Antonio Spurs.
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