For a lot of months, followers of the Los Angeles Lakers have criticized the group for not making a commerce to enhance the roster and deciding to be cautious when it got here to rumored offers.
However on Monday, the Lakers lastly made a move, sending guard Kendrick Nunn and three second-round draft picks to the Washington Wizards for ahead Rui Hachimura.
It might not be the blockbuster that makes them championship contenders followers have dreamed of, nevertheless it ought to transfer the needle.
On one hand, Hachimura’s 3-point taking pictures is a priority. He’s at simply 33.7 p.c from that distance this season after hitting 44.7 p.c from downtown final season, so it’s unknown whether or not he’ll assist L.A. with its greatest weak spot.
He might not be a foul defender, however he isn’t thought of an excellent defender both, though at 6-foot-8 and 230 kilos and with a 7-foot-2 wingspan, he ought to have the instruments to enhance in that space.
However that is undoubtedly a really stable commerce for the Lakers, and it ought to convey them a number of advantages.
Hachimura provides the Lakers youth and upside
Final season, the Lakers have been one of many oldest groups anybody can keep in mind seeing within the NBA. That they had 5 gamers who have been no less than 35 years of age and a whopping 11 males of their 30s.
However now, the Lakers are a a lot youthful group, a metamorphosis that began final offseason. Hachimura is 24 years outdated, whereas Nunn is 27, so they may turn into even youthful.
The ahead is simply in his fourth NBA season, so he nonetheless has some upside, particularly in the case of the finer factors of his recreation. He could not ever turn into a star, but when he improves his exterior taking pictures and protection, he may very well be a fixture in L.A. for years to come back.
Athleticism and physicality
Hachimura might not be an athletic freak, however he’s a stable athlete who has some skill to run the ground and end sturdy in transition, which might make him a very good match for a Lakers group that likes to run and harm groups with its quick break.
Within the half court docket, he likes to make use of his sturdy body to get to his spots, whether or not it’s to arrange his mid-range jumper or to get to the rim.
Hachimura is taking pictures 80.3 p.c from inside three toes and a powerful 53.4 p.c from 10-16 toes.
The Lakers’ roster is now extra balanced, as they’ve a real, productive ahead with measurement and size. He can play each ahead positions, which is able to hopefully imply no extra three or four-guard lineups.
Much less minutes for LeBron James
Regardless of LeBron James’ prolific play of late, he has actually been packing on the minutes, as he’s averaging 36.2 minutes per recreation and 37.7 since he turned 38 on Dec. 30.
However with Hachimura taking on a very good variety of minutes at each ahead positions, now the Lakers can trim James’ minutes, ideally into the 32-34 a recreation vary, with out sacrificing productiveness.
This might hold him contemporary transferring ahead and presumably lengthen his longevity a bit.
Improved leverage for one more potential deal
The Lakers didn’t quit a lot to get Hachimura, which implies they will nonetheless store the expiring contracts of Patrick Beverley, Russell Westbrook and presumably even Lonnie Walker IV, to not point out their 2027 and 2029 first-round draft picks.
With Hachimura on board, they received’t be practically as determined to make one thing occur earlier than the Feb. 9 commerce deadline, which ought to enhance their commerce posture and presumably make it simpler to make a second commerce that might make them title contenders.
They nonetheless may use yet one more 3-and-D ahead, notably one who’s an impressive 3-point shooter, and a few would argue they nonetheless want yet one more true middle who’s a shot-blocking menace, such because the Indiana Pacers’ Myles Turner.