Rui Hachimura was a big part of the Lakers turning around their season last year when he was traded from Washington to Los Angeles.
This season has been a challenge for Hachimura as he’s dealt with a broken nose, a concussion and a calf strain. He has returned for the Lakers and, in the past two games, scored in double figures and shot at least 50% from the field in both matchups.
Fans may be obsessed with the Lakers starting lineup and ways to fix it, but Anthony Davis understands how important having a sixth man like Hachimura back and healthy can be for this team’s success.
“He’s fresh,” Davis said following a Lakers win against the Thunder at home. “He’s been out for a little bit so he has fresh legs. He’s playing with confidence. Obviously, Rui was a big part for us last year and we just want to get back to him being himself. Sometimes he goes out and overthinks a little bit, he wants to make the right play. (We’re like) ‘Just be yourself. Just don’t think and play basketball.’ He’s been doing that for the last two games, shooting the ball and attacking the basket.”
Hachimura doesn’t need to have monster games like the 21-point performance he had versus the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals to help this team win. He just needs to hit shots when open, grab rebounds and give the best effort he can on the defensive side of the ball.
With his team-friendly contract and the Lakers struggling at 20-21 on the season, who knows if Hachimura will get dealt or stay on the roster, but as long as he’s donning the purple and gold, he’ll be playing significant minutes and needs to perform if the Lakers want to win games.
These past two games have established a blueprint for Hachimura’s success and if he can replicate it during this homestand and the rest of his time in L.A., then the Lakers will win more games than they lose in 2024.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.