Washington Wizards Gamble on Rui Hachimura in NBA Draft

Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

Nobody had any idea what the Washington Wizards were going to do with the ninth pick, but fewer had them taking Rui Hachimura out of Gonzaga.

The Washington Wizards weren’t giving anyone any clues about what they were doing tonight with the ninth pick in the NBA Draft. By the time they were finally on the clock, Cam Reddish was still on the board. So were Nassir Little and Sekou Doumbouya, two players that visited the Washington Wizards pre-draft.

However, the Wizards went with a slightly surprising pick and chose Rui Hachimura out of Gonzaga. While this might not be what people were expecting, it doesn’t mean it was a bad pick. Far from it actually.

Hachimura had an impressive career as a Bulldog, working his way from a freshman who averaged less than five minutes a game to a consensus All-American by his junior year. Hachimura showed consistent improvement each and every season, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t continue to progress in the NBA.

Last season, Hachimura averaged 19.7 points and 6.5 rebounds on his way to being named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year. Standing at 6’8 with a 7’2 wingspan, Hachimura has an elite frame and has the potential to guard all positions on the court.

Hachimura shot an impressive 59.1 percent from the floor in his final season at Gonzaga, but he’ll need to show more from distance at the NBA level. While Hachimura shot a stellar 41.7 percent from behind the arc during his junior year, he only attempted one three-point shot a game.

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With this pick, the Tommy Sheppard era has officially begun. Before the draft began, Tom Haberstroh said on NBC Sports Washington’s NBA Draft show that the interim head executive had been given the freedom to do “whatever he wanted”. What he wanted to do tonight was draft Rui Hachimura with the ninth pick. It’s higher than many expected him to go. Let’s see if the gamble pays off.