The Washington Wizards will have the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...
2019 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Rui Hachimura
Max vertical: N/A
2018/19 stats: 19.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.5 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.7 bpg, 59.1 FG% (7.4/12.6), 41.7 3PT% (0.4/1.0), 73.9 FT%
Player comparison: Gordon Hayward, Mike Scott
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 9th, NBADraft.net 10th, Bleacher Report 23rd, Sports Illustrated 16th, Ringer 19th
5 things to know:
*Hachimura is an athletic scorer, most effective in the midrange and in the post. He is quick up and down the floor for his size and scores a lot in transition. Due to his size and downhill speed, some have compared him to Jabari Parker, who played for the Wizards this past season.
*There are questions about how Hachimura's game will adapt to the NBA level because he could prove undersized at the four spot, without the vertical leap to make up for it, and because he doesn't currently have a consistent outside shot. Hachimura shot 41.7 percent from three this past season at Gonzaga, but on one attempt per game. He shot just 31.6 percent from long range in his college career.
*Some evaluators also wonder about his defense at the NBA level. He has some traits that suggest he could be a plus-defender. He has quick feet and long arms, but may have difficulty in the post against bigger, stronger players.
*Hachimura is from Japan. He is set to become just the third Japanese-born NBA player. He was just the fifth player from the country in Division I NCAA basketball history. He has a chance to become the greatest Japanese basketball player of all-time.
*He didn't start playing organized basketball until he was 14. Though he became a sensation in Japan and adapted well to the college game, he may still be just scratching the surface of his potential.
Fit with Wizards: Hachimura could end up as the best option for the Wizards at No. 9, depending on how the board moves on draft night. He plays a position of need and would add scoring and speed to their offense.
Hachimura, though, wouldn't necessarily help the Wizards with their biggest weaknesses of defense and rebounding. And he may not offer the upside they should probably seek in their first round pick.
Hachimura may have a high floor based on his college production and style of play. But whether he has All-Star potential is a real question.
The Wizards need to hit on this draft pick either way, but ideally they would find someone who could someday make a major difference.
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