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Rui Hachimura Trade Scores: Lakers earn high mark by fulfilling need; The Wizards make another disappointing move

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the Los Angeles Lakers And Washington Wizards He completed a deal that sent fourth-year Rui Hachimura to Los Angeles in exchange for Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks (in 2023, 2028, and 2029), Teams announced Monday. Hachimura is averaging 13.0 points and 4.3 rebounds this season and matching a season-high 30 points against the team. Charm on Saturday.

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The Lakers have been deep in trade talks across the league for nearly the entire season. They spent the break trying to find a new home for beleaguered goalkeeper Russell Westbrook, and when that failed, they entered the season with a roster heavy on guards and light on wings.

Their unbalanced team roster became more problematic as the season went on. Both LeBron James and Anthony Davis have wasted a significant amount of time, both of which were essential on defense for attackers. Recently, standouts Austin Reeves and Lonnie Walker IV, who also defended the Wings, have been sidelined by injury. This has forced the Lakers to use lineups of three, four, and against Dallas on Christmas Day even five guards just to make sure their best players are on the floor.

They have been seeking winger help in the commercial, but usually cheap, market and have been reluctant to include their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks in trades to find promotions. From this perspective, Hachimura represents the perfect compromise.

Hachimura, now in the final season of his rookie deal after being named ninth overall in 2019, missed much of last season due to personal reasons and dealt with a bone bruise that forced him to miss games this season. Meanwhile, he struggled to find his place on a Wizards team filled with rotation-caliber players but lacked the kind of veteran who could help him develop into what Washington hoped for when he was drafted. Things came to a head over the weekend, when Hachimura said he wasn’t sure if he wanted to be traded. “I just want to be in a place that wants me as a basketball player, and I want to be in a place that loves my game,” to reporters.

Now he will get his wish. Hachimura joins a Lakers team that desperately needs someone in his position and seems willing to invest in his development for at least the rest of the season. As such, they earn a solid score for this step.

Los Angeles Lakers: A-

lakers, Based on heights listed, the shortest team in the NBA this season. Dozens of players have played 400 minutes for them this season and eight of them are goalkeepers. Austin Reeves, a 6-foot-5 collegiate guard, has spent most of his minutes this season at small forward. Troy Brown Jr., a 6-foot-6 winger who began his career as a guard, played nearly half of his minutes on offense. This was and remains an implausibly small team even when Anthony Davis is healthy. They desperately needed an advanced-sized human, but advanced-sized humans are among the scarce commodities in the NBA. Last season, they found Stanley Johnson in the scrap heap and got a meaningful production run. Being 6-foot-8 and playing with energy is a great value.

Hachimura is a low-risk, high-reward addition this season, and the upside is much higher. Johnson was notoriously poor at shooting. Hashimura is a mixed bag. He attempted only 2.5 3-pointers per game during his career, and his percentages were inconsistent with his career. He made 33.3 percent of his 3 catches and catches in 2021 and is in again this season, but last year he made 47 percent of them. The truth lies somewhere in between, but Hachimura never had a playmaker like LeBron James create his appearance and never had a big guy like Anthony Davis draw defenses toward the edge. He’s hit 42 percent of his wide open triples this season, but has only taken 50 of those attempts. He will get a lot like Laker.

His defense has been inconsistent, but the scales are pointing in the right direction. FiveThirtyEight’s RAPTOR And Dunks and Three’s EPM Both rated it as minor positives. It’s not hard to see why. An athletic 6-foot-8 frame with a wingspan of 7-foot-2 has always caused him problems, and the Wizards have often used him with the opposing top scorer in recent years. He’s not a stopper, but just having a player with the right physical proportions to protect those players is important because it ensures LeBron James doesn’t need to. The Lakers have so far solved that problem with very young Patrick Beverley. It didn’t go well.

Hashimura’s development has been uneven in Washington. The Lakers have a great track record with these players. They rehabilitated Monk’s money a season earlier. They did the same thing with Lonnie Walker IV this season. The Lakers do well with young athletes who can shoot. This broadly describes Hashimura. The Lakers spent months trying to find a way to land such a player without including their first-round picks in 2027 or 2029. Now they’ve done it.

This is also the only thing keeping them from getting a. This is a good trade. The Lakers need a great trade to get to the championship picture. Hachimura will enter as a rotation player. They’re at least one mainstay player away from real contention, and that player will likely come to center Hachimura. Former Washington teammate Kyle Kuzma was discussed as a possibility. So did Bojan Bogdanovic. Lakers improved forward. They’re still skinny there. If this is the first of multiple trades the Lakers have made? Cool, they have a chance to make some noise.

If they view this trade as their only move? Well, things are getting messy. Not only are they out of championship contention this season, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Lakers plan to re-sign Hachimura after the season. This is good in theory. Practically speaking, the Lakers are a team designed to maximize their cap space this season, when they can generate nearly $34 million going after players from other teams. Keeping Hachimura’s cap of $18.8 million will only make it more difficult. That’s an easier pill to swallow if he helps the Lakers to a deep playoff run, but without another deal, it likely won’t happen. All of this creates enough questions to lower the grade to an “A-“, but all things considered, having this kind of talent without forfeiting a first-round pick is almost a total victory for the Lakers.

Washington Wizards: D-

The Wizards didn’t make things worse with this trade. That’s about as much as they deserve here. They did not get paid long term. They didn’t give up the shots. In the grand scheme of things, this is not a harmful trade. It’s just so disappointing.

Not Hashimura, for example, Johnny Davis. He’s not some lottery bankrupt who almost immediately proved he wouldn’t be able to play at the NBA level. Hachimura was actually fairly good across parts of the four seasons as a mage. An average of 13 points per game on reasonable overall efficiency and 3-point shooting cannot be scoffed at in the league. Most metrics rate him as a medium defender this season in an excellent position. He has, at various points in his career, taken on the most difficult of conflicting tasks. He has great physical tools and has more or less lived up to the expectations of the late lottery pick.

This may not be a player to build on, but it is one to invest in. This is something magicians haven’t done for quite some time. Another draft wizard to earn an extension? That would be Otto Porter Jr., taken nearly a decade ago in the 2013 NBA Draft. Let’s take a look at their first-round picks since then:

Once again, the Wizards proved either unwilling or unable to properly develop young players. That will become increasingly problematic for them as their injury-prone stars, Bradley Bell and Kristaps Porzingis, age beyond the stages in their careers where they can sustain this team without support. If the Wizards can’t establish an internal support system for them soon, any competitive facade this team hopes to maintain will quickly fade, and when that happens, developing young players who sign up at the top of the lottery will have the only way to escape from the bottom of the standings. .

Right now, witches don’t seem to be equipped to do that. Whether or not Hashimura lived up to Washington’s hopes is almost irrelevant. He is a talented young player. Witches don’t have many of those. A handful of second-round picks is no adequate replacement for one, however, given their history, that’s all they can really expect to turn their talented young players into.

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