NBA Hoops

How Rui Hachimura will help the Lakers

How Rui Hachimura will help the Lakers

For many months, fans of the Los Angeles Lakers have criticized the team for not making a trade to improve the roster and deciding to be cautious when it came to rumored deals.

But on Monday, the Lakers finally made a move, sending guard Kendrick Nunn and three second-round draft picks to the Washington Wizards for forward Rui Hachimura.

It may not be the blockbuster that makes them championship contenders fans have dreamed of, but it should move the needle.

On one hand, Hachimura’s 3-point shooting is a concern. He is at just 33.7 percent from that distance this season after hitting 44.7 percent from downtown last season, so it is unknown whether he will help L.A. with its biggest weakness.

He may not be a bad defender, but he isn’t considered a great defender either, although at 6-foot-8 and 230 pounds and with a 7-foot-2 wingspan, he should have the tools to improve in that area.

But this is definitely a very solid trade for the Lakers, and it should bring them several benefits.

Last season, the Lakers were one of the oldest teams anyone can remember seeing in the NBA. They had five players who were at least 35 years of age and a whopping 11 men in their 30s.

But now, the Lakers are a much younger team, a transformation that started last offseason. Hachimura is 24 years old, while Nunn is 27, so they will become even younger.

The forward is only in his fourth NBA season, so he still has some upside, especially when it comes to the finer points of his game. He may not ever become a star, but if he improves his outside shooting and defense, he could be a fixture in L.A. for years to come.

Hachimura may not be an athletic freak, but he is a solid athlete who has some ability to run the floor and finish strong in transition, which would make him a good fit for a Lakers team that loves to run and hurt teams with its fast break.

In the half court, he likes to use his strong frame to get to his spots, whether it is to set up his mid-range jumper or to get to the rim.

Hachimura is shooting 80.3 percent from within three feet and an impressive 53.4 percent from 10-16 feet.

The Lakers’ roster is now more balanced, as they have a true, productive forward with size and length. He can play both forward positions, which will hopefully mean no more three or four-guard lineups.

Despite LeBron James’ prolific play of late, he has…

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