Phil Handy seemingly compares Rui Hachimura to Kawhi Leonard: ‘Reminds me of this guy I coached in Toronto’

Jonathan Sherman
3 Min Read

On Wednesday night, newly acquired Los Angeles Lakers forward Rui Hachimura made his debut with the team.

Lakers assistant coach Phil Handy paid Hachimura an incredible compliment following the team’s 113-104 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

It appears that Handy compared Hachimura to former Toronto Raptors superstar Kawhi Leonard. However, given the language, that is not totally clear.

No matter who Handy is comparing Hachimura to, there is no doubt that there are a lot of reasons for Lakers fans to be excited about the recent addition to the roster.

Hachimura looked great in his first appearance for the Purple and Gold, finishing with 12 points and six rebounds in just 22 minutes of playing time.

As he gains more comfort with the team and its players, he figures to get more and more playing time.

In fact, it has already been reported that the Lakers are expected to eventually slide Hachimura into the starting frontcourt alongside superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

That trio would make a highly talented frontcourt, and they would be able to matchup well against some of the best teams in the league.

With that in mind, the Lakers still seemingly need to make some moves prior to the trade deadline if they want to seriously challenge for a playoff spot this year.

After a disastrous start to the 2022-23 NBA season, the Lakers have managed to right the ship a bit lately. Still, they are just 5-5 in their last 10 games and sit at the No. 13 seed in the Western Conference.

One sustained winning streak would likely put the Lakers right back into the playoff conversation, as they are still just two games back from the No. 6 seed in the conference.

The Lakers surely believe that Hachimura will help them achieve that and more in the upcoming string of games. It will be interesting to see how quickly Lakers head coach Darvin Ham gives him substantial opportunity on the court.

Following Wednesday’s win, the Lakers will have a few days of rest before they take on the Boston Celtics in a nationally televised game on Saturday.

That game will being a string of some really tough games. After the Celtics game, the Lakers will face off against the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers and New Orleans Pelicans.

All of those teams are currently challenging for a playoff spot or play-in tournament spot in their respective conferences.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.