moistnessfiscal wrote:Analytics aren’t favourable to him and is overlooked by the media and hardcore NBA fans, but somehow I’m still very high on him. His 3-year progression and physical outlook is noteworthy, being diligent would be an understatement to his mentality towards basketball, coming from Japan, it means something, being from that culture instills a unique sense of determination and focus that very few players understand. Questions about his shot and basketball instincts are reasonable doubts to the translatability of his game, but his long-term outlook, to me, is much more than a solid role-player.
Ps not a Wizards or Gonzaga fan, also would like note your new front office regime looks promising
The general beat on Hachimura is that a lot of the analytics Twitter “scouts” weren’t high on him and mocked him in the mid/late 1st but many NBA front offices had him ranked highly , in the top 5-10 range. On the SI live draft show it’s confirmed that Charlotte called the Hawks for #8 to take him. There was a lot of gamesmanship on draft day with teams aggressively trying to target Hachimura in the top 10. This from the Athletic:
The Spurs, who picked No. 19, were big Hachimura fans, according to sources, and could have nabbed him or even moved up a few slots to take him if he slid close enough to them. The Hornets were making calls around the league in an effort to move up from No. 13, per sources, and were fancy for Hachimura.
“We tried to trade back until you hear people are trying to trade up to get him ahead of us,” Sheppard said. “There were several teams – cat-and-mouse game. And you have to have the best intel of what’s going on around you. I think there were a couple of teams in hot pursuit but I think when we got the call, we kind of knew what they might be calling about. You say thank you and hang up and we got our guy.”
The Wizards were very careful not to tip their hand pre-draft and let it be know they had interest in Rui. One of the storylines leading up to the draft is that analysts had no read on what the Wizards were going to do at #9, which worked in their favor. They sent out smoke screens that they were going to take Nassir Little, or trade Bradley Beal and move up , and so on to throw teams off the trail.
For example, Leonsis was privy to their hope of drafting Rui Hachimura with the ninth overall pick. Sheppard explained why they wanted Hachimura and what they would do to make sure other teams did not know their plans. The Wizards, for instance, did not host Hachimura for a pre-draft workout in Washington.
There is certain intel that NBA teams have access to that can’t be accounted for just by looking at stats and the way he was utilized at Gonzaga. Tommy Sheppard happens to be close friends with Gonzaga’s coach Mark Few, and Few alerted him to keep an eye on Rui several years ago when Sheppard was VP of Scouting. Since then the Wizards have been tracking Rui closely and have inside information about him that the average draft scout may not know.
Analytics twitter types have been “down” on Rui because they don’t understand his development track. Not only is he a late-comer to basketball (ala Siakam , Embiid etc) he was still learning English at Gonzaga and couldn’t even understand his coaches and teammates early on, thus didn’t fully pick up on the schemes.. which led to those moments of him looking awkward, or going the wrong way on defense and so on.
As Hachimura adjusted to US culture his game on both ends improved rapidly - you can rewatch the full Gonzaga-Duke game on Youtube where Rui was a masterclass on both ends. He’s a very intelligent and a high IQ player, but it will come out more and more now that he’s gained a fairly strong command of English. The Wizards staff has already noted that Rui is quick to pick up on NBA concepts:
I personally did not know much about Hachimura leading up to the draft and had no idea he was on our radar. But after learning more about his background and the research that went into the pick , I became more encouraged. For him to be this advanced while not even knowing English a few years ago, is incredible in itself. And once I saw him play in SL I became more encouraged , he looks a lot more capable offensively than I anticipated , and his defensive impact was better than advertised. Plus from a physical standpoint this kid is built like a Mack truck , you can see he shouldn’t have many problems adjusting to the physicality of the NBA.
I do believe that he will have to work on his flat 3pt shot and be able to knock that down consistently in order to reach his ceiling at the NBA level. But imo he projects at worst similarly to a player like Harrison Barnes offensively (who turned out to be a solid pick at #9) with the potential to be more versatile defensively - with his size and 7’2 wingspan he showed in SL that he can run some small ball C.