The Wizards have selected Rui Hachimura with No. 9 overall pick in the NBA Draft. He fills a much-needed position at power forward as both Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker are pending free agents. Hachimura becomes the first Japanese-born player to be drafted in first round.
Hachimura is a 6-foot-8 power forward out of Gonzaga. He has the ability to score both down low and beyond the arc, shooting 41.7% from three-point range. His ability to stretch the floor is becoming increasingly necessary as the NBA is starting to focus on the three-point shot more.
In addition to Hachimura’s deep ball, he’s a playmaker but needs to be molded into more of a passer. Hachimura only recorded 1.5 assists per game in his junior season but recorded 6.5 rebounds per game. Hachimura shot an overall 59.1% from the field which should translate into success at the NBA level.
Hachimura always shot well during his three seasons with Gonzaga averaging no less than 52.8% overall and only improved his shot each season. Hachimura averaged 19.7 points per game for the Zags last season.
Chancey Billups referred to Hachimura as “a young Kawhi Leonard” on ESPN’s broadcast of the NBA Draft.
The Wizards came into the draft without a solid or dependable big man. Jabari Parker has had injury problems in the past and Bobby Portis, sometimes the team hot-head, doesn’t have enough experience in the league yet. Hachimura, however, has a very high ceiling and could possibly turn into a future all-star.
Hachimura will likely come off the bench for the Wizards if either Portis or Parker are re-signed during the free agency period.
Acting President of Basketball Ops. Tommy Sheppard was trusted to make the Hachimura selection. We’ll see if it pays off and if Wizards majority owner Ted Leonsis believes Sheppard can fit that role long term.
Rui was a perfect pick because he fills a much-needed position and he can be molded into a force on the blocks, similar to Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Wizards do not currently have a second round pick but could acquire one via trade.