Washington Wizards: Time to hop on the Rui Hachimura bandwagon

Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

Can you say Rui Hachimura 20 times? If not, it’s time to practice because there’s a new sheriff in town.

Can you say Rui Hachimura 20 times without stumbling? I don’t think I can, but I better get used to it because he’s going to be a vital member of the Washington Wizard for at least the next four years. For those that have been living under a rock, Rui Hachimura was the Wizards’ ninth pick in the 2019 NBA draft.

Honestly, I’m confused as to why so many are upset at the pick. I believe it was a brilliant pick that shows the fresh new direction in which this organization is heading.

Rui Hachimura was a hard worker and dedicated player at Gonzaga. He played three years and is maybe the most polished player to come out of this year’s draft class. In today’s NCAA, players only play one year and then it’s off to the NBA. Was he a reach at nine? Sure, maybe. Will he be a spectacular player in year one? Probably not. However, down the road, he will be a great player.

There’s still room on the bandwagon, so hop on while you still can.

Hachimura reminds me of a young Giannis Antetokounmpo, another international prospect that picked up the game late and had a few things to work on when he got drafted.

The length, strength, and hard work are similar to Giannis’s and both of them play hard at the rim with an ability to create their own shots. The only thing Hachimura is missing is the three-point shot, but he can work on that. Nobody’s asking him to be this game-changing player that magically turns the Wizards team from 32-50 to 50-32 and 2nd in the East. At least not right now.

Things don’t happen that way in the NBA. We’re not talking about the NHL here. These aren’t the St. Louis Blues.

But while all the focus might be on Hachimura right now, people are missing out on Admiral Schofield the Wizards’ second-round pick. Whether he finds his place as a bench player or as a starter, he is that rare talent that teams miss on. More than a few draft “experts” had him going late in the first round. He could be the ultimate late-round steal that the Wizards have been looking for during unsuccessful drafts of the past.

I see Schofield as the next Draymond Green in that he can do a bit of everything. He pulls up from the outside and shoots threes, or he can come down the middle and take your head off. Maybe not your head but you get the point. He’s also a solid on-ball defender and can match up well against multiple positions despite being smaller than Green.

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My overall draft grade for Tommy Sheppard and the Washington Wizards is a B-. I love what he did with drafting a power forward and trading/buying the Wizards into a second round pick that Ernie Grunfeld was notorious for trading away every year. Plus, they got a great pick at 42. Late pick gems are a once in a lifetime find and Sheppard may have gotten his during his first draft as the Wizards interim general manager.