Report: Lakers expected to eventually start Rui Hachimura next to Anthony Davis and LeBron James

Zach Stevens
3 Min Read

After months of speculation, the Los Angeles Lakers finally made a trade on Monday, sending guard Kendrick Nunn and multiple second-round draft picks to the Washington Wizards for forward Rui Hachimura.

Although it may not be the panacea fans were hoping for, it should be a very solid move, especially if he enters the Lakers’ starting lineup, which is what is eventually expected.

“The soon-to-be 25-year-old Hachimura has the size (6 foot 8, 230 pounds), length (7-foot-2 wingspan) and athleticism that the Lakers desperately need in the frontcourt,” wrote Jovan Buha of The Athletic. “His ability to play either forward spot helps balance the roster’s positional structure. It’s unclear if Hachimura will start on Day 1, but the expectation is that he will start next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis once the rotation settles, multiple team sources told The Athletic.”

Los Angeles has lacked functional frontcourt depth and production ever since it traded Kyle Kuzma to the Wizards in the Russell Westbrook trade a year and a half ago. Hachimura will greatly help replenish that depth.

So far this season, he is averaging 13.0 points in 24.3 minutes per game, and he will supply the Lakers with a reliable complementary scoring threat alongside LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook.

His defense is a concern to some, as is his 3-point shooting. While he shot an outstanding 44.7 percent from beyond the arc last season, he is down to just 33.7 percent so far this season.

The Lakers badly need a couple of high-quality 3-point snipers in order to space the floor for James, Davis and Westbrook. They rank just 26th in 3-point shooting accuracy, which has allowed opposing teams to load up the strong side of the floor whenever James has the ball on the wing in half-court situations.

Another positive from this trade is the fact that they still have some trade chips left, including guard Patrick Beverley, who has an expiring $13 million contract, and Westbrook, who is due $47 million this year and will also be a free agent this summer.

However, with Westbrook playing well and sparking the Lakers with minimal downside, the team seems reluctant to part with him.

Los Angeles is also about to get Davis back from a stress injury in his right foot as soon as later this week, as well as guard Lonnie Walker IV, who ranks fourth on the squad in scoring average.

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Zach has always had a profound love and respect for the Lakers that has inspired him to write about the franchise. He has a great deal of admiration for LeBron James, and his overall knowledge about the NBA has made him a solid addition to the Lakers Daily staff.