Rui Hachimura is ready for the FIBA World Cup

Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura (Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura (Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images) /

If the tuneup games were any indication, Rui Hachimura is ready to put on quite a show during the FIBA World Cup.

Rui Hachimura has a chance to take the basketball world by storm before even stepping foot on the court for the Washington Wizards this season. Instead, he could have his unofficial coming-out party while playing for Japan.

The FIBA Basketball World Cup starts today and Rui Hachimura looks poised to make some noise with the Japanese national team.

Before the Wizards’ season tips off on October 23 against the Dallas Mavericks, Hachimura will get a great opportunity to test his game against some of the best basketball players in the world. For the FIBA World Cup, Japan is in Group E, meaning they got a tough draw. Hachimura and company will play against Turkey (Cedi Osman and Ersan Ilyasova), the Czech Republic (Tomas Satoransky), and the USA (they’re all in the NBA) in the group stage before the field of 32 is widdled down to just 16.

If the FIBA World Rankings are any indication, the Japnese have a difficult road ahead of them. At 48, they’re the lowest-ranked team in the group. The Czech Republic sits 24 spots higher at 24th, and Turkey is above them at 17th. The USA is the top-ranked team in Group E and on the FIBA World Rankings.

However, after their impressive performances in the World Cup tuneup games, Japan could definitely pull off an upset or two. In their four tuneups, Japan pulled off two relative shockers thanks to some herculean efforts from Hachimura.

In a 99-89 victory over 38th ranked New Zealand, Hachimura had 35 points, five rebounds and three assists for Japan. Then he dropped 31 points on Dennis Schroder and Germany in an 86-83 comeback victory.

Japan also had a pair of losses, though. One was pretty ugly; a104-87 beatdown by New Zealand. And one was not so bad; a 108-93 loss to fifth-ranked Argentina. Even in defeat, Hahcimura wowed. He scored 19 points in the loss to New Zealand and 23 points in the loss to Argentina. He crashed the boards well, too, grabbing nine vs New Zealand and seven (plus five assists) vs Argentina.

Over the four pre-World Cup tuneups, Hachimura averaged nearly 24 points on 56 percent shooting (53 percent from three), plus 6.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists. Look out world. He’s coming.

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Hachimura has already proven he can lead a team at the collegiate level. As Gonzaga’s top-scorer, his Bulldogs team was one of the best in the country. Even with John Wall and Bradley Beal running the show in DC, it’s only a matter of time until the Wizards turn to their lottery pick to shoulder a large load. If he’s able to do it against grown men in the FIBA World Cup, maybe he can do it in the NBA.

It’s no guarantee, but at least it’ll be good practice.