The reality is that last game Rui should have been a facilitator. You can knock his teammates all you want, but they carried Rui vs. Argentina. Baba had 18 points on 8/12 shooting, Hiejima had 13 points on 6/12 shooting, Watanabe had 17 on 7/14 shooting and Tanaka had 10 points on 4/9 shooting. The starting 5 minus Rui was 25/47 or 53%, Rui shot 6/17 35%. And that 6/17 makes his game look a lot better than it actually was. Several of those 6 makes were either offensive rebound dunks or spoon-fed dunks. Now players are allowed to have bad games, but the reason I bring up the fact that he struggles with processing after this game is that far from being a one-off this is a pattern that I have seen over and over again.
Poor awareness. As mentioned above, he misses rotations, is in poor positions off ball, and does not appear to know where to be. Not someone who affects the defense in a positive way off ball (or on ball either, really). I donâ€™t think itâ€™s effort based, though he does have a large offensive load, just because it has been the same in limited minutes in previous years and in FIBA games as well. Does not anticipate well either, either in man to man, help, or playing the passing lanes.
Not a good passer and not a particularly willing one, either â€“ one of 50 players in all of division 1 with a USG% of greater than 25, but an assist rate below 10. Can drive and kick / drive and drop-off, but is not creating looks for others out of PnR or making any advanced reads. Passing has improved over the past seasons, but itâ€™s still nowhere close to being a strength, and not even average for his position either. A bit of a ball-stopper and does not see the floor well when heâ€™s focusing on handling â€“ goes back to lack of comfortability handling the ball. 81 ISO possessions this year, only 10 passes leading to shot attempts. Can pass out of the post a little, but he does not do it oftenâ€¦itâ€™s more of a last ditch thing when he canâ€™t get a shot off.
These 2 quotes are from The Stepien's scouting report on Rui. Some players struggle defensively because they because they lack effort. Some players struggle defensively because they are physically unable to do what is required of them (hello Roy Hibbert). Other players struggle defensively because they have cannot anticipate what's going on around them. Rui is in this category. I'm sure you took chemistry or calculus growing up. In these classes, some students need to do only 5 or 6 practice questions before they are ready for the test. These students, as they work through a question are able to easily grasp the underlying principles and rules that are at play and then take those rules and principles and apply it to a completely new question. Meanwhile, some students need to work through 50 or 100 questions before they really grasp what is going on. Rui is in the latter category and it impacts both his offense and his defense. The good thing is that this can be improved but he needs to spend way more time in the film room (this is why players watch film by the way).
Look at 43 seconds and 2:58.https://www.nbcsports.com/washington/wizards/art-double-team-keys-wizards-doubling-joel-embiid
Rui Hachimura, Wizards forward: "I think itâ€™s just if youâ€™re going to do it, you gotta go for it. Last night, we were kind of just half-ass and kind of floating. Weâ€™ve just gotta be more aggressive from the beginning. Weâ€™ve just gotta communicate defensively and help the bigs. I know heâ€™s one of the best players in the NBA, the MVP. Weâ€™ve just gotta help the bigs on one of the best players in the league."
This encapsulates Rui Hachimura in a nutshell. The team plans to double team Embiid but what do they tell him specifically? And what you get is what you saw in the above video. Then afterward, coaches sit him down and actually break down what they need from him. And if you go forward in the series his doubles teams improved. If the mountain won't come to Muhammad, Muhammad must go to the mountain. We have to meet our players where they are. Hopefully, Unsled Jr's coaching staff understands this and addresses it. With that being said it is Hachimura's biggest weakness.https://www.si.com/nba/clippers/news/rondo-calling-out-mavs-plays-in-playoffs
Rajon Rondo is known for being an on-court coach, and he's doing exactly that in the playoffs. According to Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, Rajon Rondo has been calling out the Mavs' plays throughout the playoffs. As a result, Carlisle has been trying to call fewer plays for his team, and it's working."He always knows what's going on with the other team," Carlisle said. "He's always calling out our plays and that's why we're trying not to run too many plays. He knows them all."
I'm not saying Rui has to be like them, but Rui's is on the complete other side of the spectrum. When you can't anticipate what's going on you have to waste precious moments analyzing and thinking instead of just reacting. So instead of knowing the help is coming and who's going to be open, when the help comes you freeze and now instead of making the defense pay for helping on you and leaving someone open, you're trying to avoid a turnover. Because you can't anticipate the big man diving to the hoop you get their a split-second late and give up an and 1 instead of taking a charge. Because you don't know that you're guy is about to use a flare screen, you focus is on the ball handler, next second you look up and your guy has moved and is getting ready to catch the ball and shoot an open 3. Not being able to anticipate what's going to happen around you makes you a perpetual liability. And when I think about the good and great players in this league, none of them were players that couldn't anticipate.