The 2019 NBA Draft will be a great event for teams to start building for their future. The Game Haus will be doing scouting reports on some of the top prospects in the 2019 NBA Draft. Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura has an interesting basketball journey and is now a top-level NBA Draft prospect.
2018-2019 stats: 19.7 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per game, 1.5 assists per game, 0.9 steals per game, 0.7 blocks per game, 59% field goal, 41.7% 3 point
Size: 6-foot-8, 230 pounds
Hachimura was a great demonstration of a player who continually got better throughout his college career. He came out of high school as a three-star prospect, but after three years at Gonzaga, he is now one of the best players in the NBA Draft.
In his freshman season at Gonzaga, Hachimura played less than five minutes a game and averaged just 2.6 points per game. He continued to come off the bench for most of his sophomore season, but was a key contributor with 11.6 points per game. This past season he took his game to a whole other level, as he averaged 19.7 points per game and he was named a consensus All-American. Hachimura helped Gonzaga to a Final Four as a freshman and this year they made the Elite Eight.
His play at Gonzaga and for the Japanese National Team has given him a lot of attention over the last couple of years. Now, he will likely be picked very early in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Hachimura has the size and strength to play the four in today’s NBA, but has the versatility to also play the three. He can be a matchup nightmare, as smaller wing players will have a tough time guarding him because of his size, while big men will have a tough time chasing him on the perimeter. His post moves will make him even more of a matchup problem as teams may not be able to switch on him as much.
To go along with his size, Hachimura can stroke it from three-point land. He didn’t take a high volume of shots from deep last season, but hit 41.7 percent as a junior. He hit 0.4 per game, which is a decent sample size, but not great. He’ll have to prove that his improvement this season can last, as he shot well below that percentage earlier in his career. If he can prove it is permanent, Hachimura will be very tough to guard.
He finishes well in a variety of ways. He can score with floaters, pull-up jumpers and by getting all the way to the basket. His size and strength helps him finish at the rim around bigger bodies. Hachimura could be a legitimate scoring threat at the next level with his ability to score in multiple ways.
Hachimura has the potential to be good on the offensive side of the ball, but his defense needs some work. He often doesn’t understand when to switch and how to help his teammates. His foot quickness isn’t the best and he can be beat off the dribble at times, although the main issue is his team defense.
While he showed great ability to score in college, Hachimura had to be set up for a lot of his baskets. He got a lot of open shots due to Gonzaga’s guards penetrating and dishing the ball to him for an open shot. In the NBA he could be limited if he doesn’t create his own shot.
He could be a bit of a tweener at the NBA level. These are the type of players who can create mismatches, but can also be forgotten about if they don’t develop well. His ball-handling skills might not be up to par to play on the wing, while he could struggle on the inside against experienced defenders. He’ll have to find his role and run with it to be a success.
Projected Draft Range: Top 10 pick