LeBron James Believes Rui Hachimura Has Looked ‘Comfortable’ Since Entering Lakers Starting Lineup
Rui Hachimura, Jaren Jackson Jr., Lakers, Grizzlies
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Rui Hachimura was the star for the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night in their win against the Memphis Grizzlies. While LeBron James’ triple-double was certainly a catalyst, it was Hachimura’s 32 points and 10 rebounds on 7-for-8 from beyond the arc that allowed the Lakers to pass through Memphis with ease to collect a fifth straight victory and move to 2-0 on their road trip.

Hachimura has been stellar for the Lakers since moving into the starting lineup, and Wednesday’s victory was another example of that. The Lakers are 16-7 since head coach Darvin Ham placed Hachimura in the starting lineup permanently. He has been shooting over 55% from the field and 45% from three in those 23 games.

And on Wednesday, Hachimura’s hot shooting not only worked for him, but it allowed the Lakers to do whatever they wanted offensively in a game where they did not have Anthony Davis on the court. James spoke about that after the victory, via Spectrum SportsNet:

“Obviously Rui’s ability to shoot and spread the floor tonight was big time for us. It kept Jaren Jackson away from the paint and then when he was able to get into the paint, we were able to kick out to 3s for Rui and he just stayed locked in all night and made them pay. And then as far as his defensive rebounding, it’s key for us. It’s key for us to have another guy on the glass in AD’s absence. We know how well AD rebounds the ball so that was very key for us.”

James also discussed how Hachimura has looked and felt since his move into the starting lineup, echoing a sentiment from Ham:

“Very comfortable. He knows where his shots are coming from, he knows he’s gonna be on the floor and get minutes. I think he feels that we as his teammates, we look for him. Either early post situations or kickouts or when guys close out heavy on him, his ability to drive and finish, drive and pull up, things of that nature. It gives us another big body, another athletic wing out there when we downsize on a night like tonight when we had to play small at times. Me and him, we can switch some things and still be able to clean the glass. He’s been very key for our success since he got here.”

The Lakers have been a force since Hachimura re-entered the mix in the starting lineup. It’s given L.A. real confidence that they can make noise in the postseason even if they don’t end up with the seeding they are hoping for.

Darvin Ham doesn’t regret not moving Rui Hachimura to starting lineup sooner

With all of Hachimura’s success, it’s fair to wonder if the Lakers would be better off today had Ham moved him to the starting lineup a little earlier. However, Ham doesn’t see it that way, saying that things fluctuate constantly during an NBA regular season, and his moves always were what he felt was right at the time.

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