Credit: Gonzaga Athletics

Rui Hachimura Draft Profile

Breaking down the NBA potential of Rui Hachimura

Soph. 6’8″ 225 Power Forward Gonzaga DOB: 2/8/98
19.7 ppg 6.5 rpg 1.5 apg FG: 59.1% 3 PT: 41.7%

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Recruiting Profile

Wingspan: 7’2″ 

NBA Comparison: Thaddues Young

Strengths: Inside Scoring, Athleticism, Mobility, Length

Weaknesses: Conference Competition, Outside Shooting, 

Hachimura grew up in Japan where baseball is king, but with his size and skill it became evident that he ended up on the basketball court. There were questions on his ability to adapt with both the language and the American college system, but he has passed those tests with flying colors after improving his English and putting up solid statistics in Spokane. He did most of his work in the beginning of his career by scoring inside, and that continued into his junior season with Hachimura using a variety of crafty moves around the basket to score against bigger players. What also transpired during his last two seasons, but more specifically as a junior, was that he improved his offensive skill set to be a much more versatile player. While a lot of his production did come close to the basket, as a junior he expanded his game outside of the paint shooting almost half of his shots from the mid-range to the three point line. As an athlete he can easily fit in on the NBA level having a solid vertical and running the floor well. Fast break situations should go well for Hachimura giving a team multiple different looks pulling up shooting a jumper, trailing the play for a jump shot, or being set up by a teammate for a short finish. With the increased spacing at the professional level he will be given more room to do work off of the dribble, and he showed in college that he is capable of attacking the basket from the wing. His athleticism to go with his length at 7’2″ will help him deal with bigger players at the position, and he will need the help with many forwards in the league pushing 7 feet tall with longer wingspans. His defense as a whole was a strong suit in college where he was able to guard multiple positions, and his ability to handle a switch to a smaller defender will be key going forward. The tools are there to become an above average defender, and with coaching he should be able to reach an above average level of defense in the league. Hachimura did rebound fairly well at almost 7 per game, especially when you consider that the Gonzaga had a good amount of blow out victories that had their starters finishing the game on the bench. 

Every prospect coming out of Gonzaga has questions regarding their ability to play against NBA level talent, but with their out of conference schedule usually being one of the hardest in college basketball, scouts are given a chance to see how they stack up. Hachimura had some big games against future pro’s: 23 points against Illinois, 24 points against Arizona, 20 points against Duke, 26 points against Washington, 21 points against Tennessee, and 17 against North Carolina, 17 points against Florida State, and 22 against Texas Tech. These games are a good sign that he can more than hold his own against fellow draft hopefuls and that the lack of competition within their conference should not be viewed as a concern going forward as teams project his potential. Despite improving his jump shot over the course of his three seasons, it is still a small sample size with Hachimura only attempting 36 three pointers as a junior. With that said, he shot those attempts at 41.7% and his mechanics are solid meaning that he in theory will be able to make long jump shots and three point attempts a bigger part of his game as a professional. As the NBA has become more of a position less league to a degree, he should not have a problem finding a role and his versatility on the offensive end fits well with how teams are currently choosing to use players that make plays inside of the paint and from the wing. His performances in international games also showed promise, with Hachimura scoring 25 points against a Team USA that featured some future professionals like Jayson Tatum and Josh Jackson. 

Here is a big shot he hit to win the game against Washington:

This play shows his ability to lead the fast break and finish at the rim:

Hachimura is projected to be a lottery pick by most analysts, with some having him going in the middle of the first round, while others have him being a potential top five selection. His ceiling as a professional is a starter level power forward, scoring the ball at a high rate and providing solid defense on multiple positions. The worst case scenario for Hachimura is that he is unable to adjust to the increased level of talent in the NBA and does not extend his game to the three point line, causing him to come off of the bench in a more limited role. 

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