Rui Hachimura and Japan no match for Team USA

Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura (Photo by Yifan Ding/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura (Photo by Yifan Ding/Getty Images) /

It was over before it even began. In their third and final game of the group stage, Rui Hachimura and the Japanese national team were simply outmatched.

No one expected Rui Hachimura and the Japanese national team to put up much of a fight. But even in an all but guaranteed victory for Team USA, the world’s most talented team took no chances today. After jumping out to an early 13-0 lead, USA cruised to an easy 98-45 win.

But for most Wizards fans, the final score is not worth worrying about. Japan never really had a chance. Especially after a less than inspiring overtime win over Turkey, the Americans were going to come out swinging. It’s a shame Rui and the boys had to be next on the schedule.

So forget the final score. Hachimura’s performance is the one thing from this game that Wizards fans should focus on. There’s no John Wall and no Bradley Beal on Team USA. Moritz Wagner and Isaac Bonga are absent from the German national team. Hachimura is the only Washington Wizard in the FIBA World Cup to follow. Unfortunately, he did not fare much better than the rest of his Japanese teammates in this drubbing.

Hachimura finished the game with his least impressive stat line of the tournament: Four points, four rebounds, one assist, two steals. He was scoreless throughout the first half and never looked like Japan’s best player. That title belonged to Yudai Baba or Yuta Watanabe. Hachimura’s four rebounds did lead the Japanese team, though. And two of his four points must have left an impression on his future foes playing for Team USA. At the very least, Myles Turner should remember them.

After a solid showing leading up to the tournament and through the first two games, Hachimura’s struggles against some of the NBA’s best are disappointing but not surprising. Despite his large role on the Japanese team, let’s not forget Hachimura is entering his ROOKIE season in the NBA.

Rui’s won over a lot of the fan base/draft day skeptics since the Wizards took him at number nine in this year’s draft. However, to already expect him to hang with some of the NBA’s best might be overselling him, regardless of how impressive he’s been up to this point.  Tommy Sheppard himself said Hachimura, even though he expects him to be a “really good” NBA player, still has “a lot to learn.” That was less than a week ago.

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Hachimura deserves the hype he’s been getting around DC and elsewhere. He’s the most exciting rookie the team’s had since Bradley Beal. But maybe it’s a little too early to expect him to drop a 30-point double-double against Team USA.

That will come next summer. At the 2020 Olympics.