Washington Wizards: Rui Hachimura drops double-double in NBA debut

Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images) /

There were not a ton of bright spots in the Washington Wizards 100-108 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on opening night. Rookie Rui Hachimura was one of them.

I have some bad news. The Washington Wizards will not be finishing the 2019-20 season 82-0. No, they won’t complete the first undefeated season in NBA history. Last night, they lost their season opener to Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis, and the Dallas Mavericks by a score of 100-108. Collectively, it wasn’t a great showing for the new-look group. One man, however, showed up for the opener in a big way. That man was Rui Hachimura.

In his first regular-season NBA game since being drafted ninth overall in the 2019 NBA Draft, Rui Hachimura entered the game as the Wizards’ starting power forward. His matchup? None other than Kristaps Porzingis. Not exactly an easy assignment. No problem for the rookie, though.

It took Hahcimura less than three minutes to record his first NBA points, a tough basket with Porzingis and Max Kleber draped all over him. And there was much more to come…


Hachimura ran well in transition all night, finding himself on the receiving end of two Bradley Beal assists when they were out in space. He also showed off his ability to not just finish in transition, but also push the pace himself. Midway through the second quarter, we saw a glimpse of what he could become running the floor. Hachimura ripped a Porzingis miss off the rim, turned, dribbled up court, and splashed an 18-footer right in Porzingis’ face.

The most impressive aspect of his game last night, though, may have been Rui’s rebounding. The rookie power forward grabbed ten boards in his first career double-double. Nearly half of them (four) came on the offensive end. Hachimura was able to turn those four offensive rebounds into six second-chance points. Definitely a promising sign for one of the NBA’s worst rebounding teams last season.

Unfortunately, not everything went right for Hachimura. Questions about his three-point shooting followed him into the NBA, and they should stick around at least for NBA game number two. The rookie went 0-3 from behind the arc against Dallas. He wasn’t the only one struggling from distance, though, as the team shot just 26.8 percent from three in the season opener. He did much better inside the arc, though, shooting 58 percent on two-pointers.

It’s not the greatest stat when looking at a one-game sample size, but Hachimura was one of only three Wizards players to play more than one minute and record a positive plus/minus. Bradley Beal and Moritz Wagner were the other two. He was one of only two Wizards to record a double-double in Dallas, and the only rookie in the NBA to record one through the first two nights of the season.

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In his regular-season debut, Hachimura looked calm, cool, and confident. Maybe a little too confident, as he saw his shot swatted near the rim more than once, but those are welcome growing pains for a rookie learning the NBA game. The bright lights of the big stage were no problem for Hachimura in game one. We’ll see where he can take it from here.