For months on end, the Lakers roster was begging for a wing player not named LeBron James. The gluttony of guards created a number of issues for the Lakers, including forcing LeBron into playing a whole host of minutes.
In acquiring Rui Hachimura, the Lakers addressed that weakness and provided LeBron another player equal to him in height and ability to play on the perimeter. The pair have already shown plenty of flashes together of what could be in store. Following Hachimura’s first game with the Lakers against the Clippers last week, LeBron expressed his approval of having another wing on the roster.
The good humor had an obvious root, besides winning – a night removed from looking despondent on the Lakers bench during a double-digit loss to the Clippers, James had Davis back in the fold, as well as new trade aquisition Rui Hachimura. To remove all subtlety about his feelings about the trade, James mentioned aloud in the locker room as Hachimura was walking out: “Feels good to have another 6-8 wing in this.”
Not only is LeBron happy to have another tall person on the perimeter, he’s also flourishing next to him. Tuesday’s game over the Knicks marked the first time Rui and he started alongside one another and it marked a win, two things probably related.
It’s a small sample size, but James and Hachimura have a net rating of +33.4 in 61 minutes together already this season. Mix in Anthony Davis and it’s a +19.2 net rating in 40 minutes. Again, very small sample sizes but it’s not a surprise that giving the Lakers and head coach Darvin Ham something resembling a competent lineup ends in positive results.
Now, could you possibly imagine two or (gasp) even three(!?) 6’8” wings alongside LeBron? Unfathomable.