Is the NBA anticipating Rui Hachimuras return?

Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

The NBA has flexed the Wizards vs. Nets game on dec. 21 to TNT.

Though the Wizards have been sitting atop the eastern conference, the team hasn’t had many opportunities to play nationally televised games this season. The Wizards have been without their international star Rui Hachimura because of personal reasons, but his return to play is near.

Rui sat on the end of the Wizards bench during a game vs. the Timberwolves on dec. 2 for the first time this season. Rui’s return to the Capital One Arena has left many fans speculating that his return to the Wizards lineup could come in December.

Does TNT know about Rui’s return?

The NBA is all about rankings and Rui Hachimura is an international star. When the Wizards selected Rui Hachimura in the first round of the 2019 NBA draft, it made him the first ever Japanese player to be taken in the first round. Rui’s impact on Japanese basketball has been huge. Bringing the gap and showcasing that biracial Japanese kids exist.

Over the years, the NBA has held campaigns in countries like Japan, and China, to name a few. These countries are great supporters of the NBA brand and help boost ratings tremendously.

Is Rui’s connection to Japan be the reason that the game was flexed?

The NBA knows the stardom that Rui has in his home country of japan. The significance of showing that a player like Rui could come out of Japan and become an NBA star is huge. Yes, the Wizards have been atop the eastern conference and that could’ve been a factor in the decision to flex the game. The only accurate way to find out is if Rui Hachimura is active by the game on Dec. 21. TNT’s decision to flex the game is a ratings move. Let’s hope it’s for Rui’s return.