Rui Hachimura & LeBron James

Rui Hachimura has been among the top priority for the Los Angeles Lakers to retain in the offseason. Like Austin Reaves, the Japanese Gonzaga product was also a restricted free agent. Hence, it was clear right from the start that the Lakers would match any deal other teams would offer. But the LA side did not lose any time to let other teams offer any deal to Rui Hachimura. Hence, Rob Pelinka made sure that they signed the Gonzaga Product on Day 1 of the Free Agency.

At some point, fans thought that Hachimura wouldn’t get a contract for more than two years. But the LA Front office retained Hachimura for a three-year deal worth $51 million. Hence, it is clear that Rui Hachimura impressed the front office with his performance in the playoffs last season. The Lakers showed faith in Hachimura and ensured balance in their bench strength. In his first half-season with the Lakers, Hachimura got his time on the court coming off the bench in the regular season mostly. But it changed a bit in the playoffs. That is why, it is reported that Hachimura might be part of the starting lineup in 2023-24.


Rui Hachimura Might Be Part Of The Laker’s Starting Lineup From 2023-24

Rui Hachimura Darvin Ham
Rui Hachimura Darvin Ham Lakers Source: Sports Illustrated

The Gonzaga product was impressive against Memphis Grizzlies in Round 1. Before the 2022-23 season, Rui Hachimura played very few matches in the postseason for the Washington Wizards. But it was a first-time experience for both Austin Reaves and Hachimura to reach the conference finals. Both emerging stars impressed the fans and the front office in the playoffs. However, according to the Athletic’s Jovan Buha, it may seem like Hachimura has impressed a lot as he might become a regular in the starting lineup for the Lakers in 2023-24. Moreover, the LA side was looking for a big man alongside Anthony Davis, and the responsibility might fall upon Hachimura.

If that happens, then the Lakers will have three big men up front – LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Rui Hachimura. The Gonzaga product is strong as well as athletic. With this tentative trio, the Lakers will get a good size, scoring abilities, and athleticism. Rui Hachimura is fast and hence can help the LA side maintain their offensive dominance. But Hachimura is not a playmaker. As a defensive player, the former Wizard helped the Lakers more or less last season. But he is not reliable as a defensive player. The main strength of Hachimura is his shooting. Therefore, the fans will hope his shooting does not get worse.

The Japanese Player Would Like To Pick Up From Where He Left Off In 2022-23

Lakers Source: SBNation

Moreover, the Japanese will hope to pick up where he left off last season. But the Lakers can appreciate Rui Hachimura more because he was the first one of the players who came in midseason to LA to join the Lakers. That phase changed the last season on its head. Nobody thought the Lakers could reach the WCF. But they managed to pull off the impossible. Moreover, the Lakers will push for the championship next season with their top five starting lineup – LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura.