In the 2022/23 season, Rui Hachimura has had an impressive performance since joining the Los Angeles Lakers in the last days of the trade deadline. The Japanese player became an important factor when needed to accompany the opposing star, which helped the Lakers advance to the Western finals.
That impressive performance helped Hachimura receive a 3-year $51 million contract extension from the Lakers. Besides, he also has a great chance to enter the starting lineup.
In recent days, Lakers coach Darvin Ham said he identified 4/5 positions in the starting lineup, including D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, LeBron James and Anthony Davis. At the remaining position, it’s a competition between Jarred Vanderbilt and Rui Hachimura.
The article below will show why Rui Hachimura should be a starting lineup player instead of Jarred Vanderbilt.
NBA LEAGUE PASS: Sign up now to watch every game (FREE 7-day trial)
Why should Rui Hachimura be in the starting lineup?
Last season, Rui Hachimura and Jarred Vanderbilt were often used by coach Darvin Ham in the starting lineup. The Japanese striker is the player who suffers the most, because he rarely stands on the field with Austin Reaves, LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
However, it changed when the Lakers reached the Playoff round. Although the performance of Jarred Vanderbilt was also good when placed next to the main starting players of the Lakers, the statistics show that Rui Hachimura is the name that brings the best results in the games.
Lineup Minutes play on the Plus/minus coefficient
|Vanderbilt, Reaves, James, Davis, Russell/Schroder||187||+12|
|Hachimura, Reaves, James, Davis, Russell/Schroder||126||+52|
In particular, Jarred Vanderbilt spent a total of 187 minutes playing with Austin Reaves, LeBron James and Anthony Davis. In this period, the Lakers created a 12 point gap compared to their opponents. Meanwhile, Rui Hachimura’s number was only 126 minutes, but brought a score difference of 52 points.
There is no denying Jarred Vanderbilt’s dynamism and superior defense when faced with opposing stars. However, he does not have the ability to score well. In Playoff games, Vanderbilt shot just 24.1% from the 3-point line. This makes it possible for opponents to ignore Vanderbilt to focus on joining other important players of the Lakers.
But when Rui Hachimura appeared on the field, everything changed completely. The Japanese striker does not have the ability to defend as many positions as his teammate in the Lakers shirt, but he has an absolutely unique quality, which is a potential threat on the 3-point line.
In the Regular Season, Hachimura only had 29.6% of 3-point shots that were successful. However, when it came to the Playoff round, the Japanese striker launched 39 3-pointers in 16 games, which followed 19 times. Hachimura’s conversion rate is up to 48.7%, a very impressive number considering that the average 3-point shooting rate in the NBA is only 36%.
This is a huge threat to any defense. Despite the loss to the Denver Nuggets with a score of 0-4, Hachimura showed great improvement during his time with the Lakers. After a summer of developing his skills, the Japanese striker is ready for a new step forward in the 2023/24 season.
In terms of defense, Hachimura does not have the special qualities of marking multiple positions, or the ability to switch markers when the opponent switches positions like Vanderbilt. But if you have to go into a 1-1 confrontation with players with similar body, physique and skills, Hachimura is really hard to beat.
Statistics show that a player facing Rui Hachimura has a 6.4% decrease in performance compared to the player’s own average. This is the second best statistic in the league, behind Giannis Antetokounmpo. Not only that, when Hachimura stood on the court with Reaves, James and Davis, NBA Stats showed that the Lakers allowed their opponents to score an average of 2.7 points per 100 possession situations.
This is the reason that Rui Hachimura should join the starting lineup of the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2023/24 season.