Rui Hachimura Wants To Be ‘X-Factor’ For Lakers
Rui Hachimura, Lakers
Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off an impressive postseason last year, Los Angeles Lakers forward Rui Hachimura struggled to find that same consistency on offense to begin this year.

With Jarred Vanderbilt recently going down with an injury though, Hachimura was slotted into the starting lineup and seems to have found a great rhythm offensively. In L.A.’s final game before the All-Star break, without LeBron James, the 26-year-old played his best career game, dropping a career-high 36 points in a 138-122 win against the Utah Jazz.

While that type of performance is not expected every night, he has been building some consistency, which is much-needed with so many guys out with injuries. Regardless, Hachimura spoke about where this scoring burst came from, via Spectrum SportsNet:

“I think these past couple games, they asked as a team, the guys, the teammates, the coaches, they tried to engage me to offense, getting more touches. It just simple basketball. DLo has been great playmaking. Bron wasn’t here, but Bron has been great, and AD. So it’s just rhythm. I’ve been talking about chemistry, we all have a chemistry, the starting lineup. So just keep building. This is what I’m comfortable with. I just felt good.”

The former Gonzaga Bulldog’s role has been inconsistent all season, but he knows what he’s capable of when given the opportunity:

“When I get into the game, I want to impact the game. That’s always my goal. I want to win the game, but I want to be the X-factor for the team either coming off the bench or starting, whatever that is. Offensively, defensively, everything. Just got to be aggressive, use my size, whatever it takes to win.”

Since a rough beginning to 2024, the Lakers have now won six of their last seven games heading into the break. Hachimura credited that to them finding their best starting lineup with guys from last year’s Western Conference Finals run:

“I’ve been telling y’all, this is who we are. We’ve been trying a lot of different things, lineups and all that stuff. But this is the lineup we had in the playoffs and that’s how we won, so it’s simple. We got to keep building chemistry for the playoffs. We’re really comfortable playing with each other, that’s how this lineup is. So we just got to keep doing it. We have a couple days with the All-Star break and then we’re coming back for the last push.”

Hachimura and the rest of the team are aware of the situation they are in and seem confident in their abilities to make it into the playoffs.

Maintaining Hachimura’s confidence level and continuing to play inspired basketball will be key factors as the regular season winds down, so hopefully he can pick up where he left off after the break.

Rui Hachimura likes chemistry of Lakers’ starting lineup

While the injuries have not been ideal, the Lakers are treading water and playing well despite it. Specifically with the starting lineup, the offense is on another level and Hachimura likes the chemistry that is building with the starters.

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