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Why the Lakers should use Rui Hachimura more: He proves worthy of playing time | Sporting News Japan

Why the Lakers should use Rui Hachimura more: He proves worthy of playing time | Sporting News Japan
Why the Lakers should use Rui Hachimura more: He proves worthy of playing time | Sporting News Japan

Rui Hachimura was one of the team’s best role players as the Los Angeles Lakers reached the Western Conference Finals last season. He has started this season with similar results. Why hasn’t Hachimura been given more opportunities to play?

Up to this point, Hachimura has played an average of 20.6 minutes per game, his lowest number. He is number 9 on the roster. That’s despite ranking second on the team in points per minute played, behind LeBron James. In the Nov. 15 loss to the Sacramento Kings, he was not on the court during a crucial fourth quarter. His playing time this season has varied.

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The Lakers have not played up to their potential so far this season, with 6 wins and 6 losses. Changes need to be made to an offense that ranks 20th in the league.

Here’s a summary of why the Lakers should see more Hachimura.

Why the Lakers should use Rui Hachimura more

Rui Hachimura can help ease the burden on LeBron James

James has played too many minutes this season in an effort to hold the Lakers back. His 33.9 minutes average is second on the team behind Anthony Davis. The reason he’s so burdened is because the Lakers have struggled when he’s on the bench. According to, when James is on the court, the Lakers outscore opponents by 6.3 points per 100 possessions. But when he’s not playing, he’s 16.6 points lower.

Hachimura is a player who can help the bench unit survive in James’ absence. He has contributed offensively with 22.3 points per 36 minutes when he has played. He’s a great isolation player and can take shots whenever he wants. There were times when he was able to convert shots from hand-to-hand combat with bigger players like David Roddy of the Memphis Grizzlies. His mid-range shot has been solid throughout his career.

Even if the opposing team tried to protect Hachimura in a one-on-one situation, there would be little chance of stopping him. Hachimura’s first step has improved tremendously, and he uses it in combination with power when driving.

Head coach Darvin Ham has experimented with using Hachimura when James isn’t on the court. In the team’s easy win over the Grizzlies on the 14th (15th), Hachimura played the final 14 minutes and 30 seconds, but James was not on the court. During that time, Hachimura has scored 12 points, the most on the team, with a field goal percentage of 71.4%.

Hachimura is fantastic as a cutter and floor spacer, but he can take on more responsibility on offense. He should be given more opportunity to be someone who can give James more rest over the long regular season.

Rui Hachimura has a solid defense this season.

Hachimura hasn’t always been known as a fantastic defender. However, his performance this season is second to none. Help defense, which has always been a problem, has gotten better. Against the Kings, he put his body on the line in the second quarter, inducing Domantas Sabonis to charge.

He is also very active in the passing lanes. His average of 1.1 steals is a career high. He is second on the team in steal percentage, an estimate of the number of possessions that resulted in a steal, behind Cam Reddish.

His 1on1 defense is also good. It’s more versatile than expected. There were times when he blocked faster players like Aaron Holiday of the Houston Rockets with his switches. He can withstand intense hand-to-hand combat with players bigger than himself, such as Aaron Gordon of the Denver Nuggets.

There is no doubt that Hachimura is on the court primarily for offensive reasons. But the defense, once seen as a weakness, is no longer an issue.

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Rui Hachimura brings a much-needed shot to the Lakers

Hachimura performed well in the playoffs with a 3-point shooting percentage of 48.7%. Prior to this season, his overall success rate was 34.7%, and there were great doubts as to how sustainable that rate would be.

But Hachimura is proving that the improvement in shot accuracy may be real. In eight games this season, his 3-point success rate is 50.0%. On a team that ranks 29th in the league in 3-point attempts and 23rd in 3-point success rate, Hachimura’s shot will be highly needed.

Hachimura has gained a lot of confidence by hitting shots even in tough contests. He shows that he can provide value without the ball by tormenting aggressive help defenses.

If his number of attempts is enough to put him on the top list, Hachimura will be in the top five in success rate. And his shot is only a small part of what he brings to the table.

Quite simply, the Lakers need more playing time for Hachimura. He has averaged 24.1 minutes in five games since returning from injury. There, he averaged 15.6 points with a FG success rate of 64.4%. There’s not much more he can do to prove he deserves more playing time.

Original: Rui Hachimura needs to play more: Lakers forward has been one of team’s best shooters, scorers, bench players(abbreviated translation)
Translation: Miai Bando

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The article is in Japanese

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