of Los Angeles Lakers And Washington Wizards They completed a trade that sent fourth-year forward Rui Hachimura to Los Angeles in exchange for Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks (in 2023, 2028 and 2029). The athletics. Hachimura is averaging 13.0 points and 4.3 rebounds this season on 33.7 percent 3-point shooting to go along with a season-high 30 points. Magic on Saturday.

The Lakers have been in the trade talks around the league for almost the entire season. They spent the offseason trying to find a new home for busy point guard Russell Westbrook, and when that failed, they entered the season with a roster heavy at guard and light on the wings.

Their imbalanced list became more and more problematic. LeBron James and Anthony Davis have both missed significant time, and both have been crucial in defending opponents. Recent standouts Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker have been sidelined with injuries on the fourth wing. This forced the Lakers to use the three, four and lineup they played against Dallas on Christmas, even five guards, just to make sure their best players were on the floor.

They’ve been looking for wing help on the trade market, but it’s typically not cheap, and they hesitated to include their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks in trades for upgrades. From that point of view, Hakimura represents the perfect compromise.

Hachimura, who is in the final season of his rookie contract after being drafted No. 9 overall in 2019, missed most of last season for personal reasons and suffered a broken bone that forced him to miss games this season. Meanwhile, he’s struggled to find his place on a Wizards team loaded with rotation-caliber players but lacks the veterans to help Washington develop into what he expects when he gets drafted. Things came to a head over the weekend when Hakimura said he wasn’t sure he wanted to be traded. “I want to be a place that needs me as a basketball player, and I want to be a place that loves my game.” He told reporters..

Now he gets his wish. Hachimura joins a Lakers team in desperate need of someone at his position and seemingly ready to invest in his development for at least the rest of the season. As such, you will get strong results for the activity.

Los Angeles Lakers: A-

lakers, Based on the listed heightsThe shortest team in the NBA this season. Twelve players have played 400 minutes this season, eight of which are guards. Austin Reaves, a 6-foot-5 collegiate point guard, has spent most of his minutes at small forward this season. Troy Brown Jr., a 6-foot-6 wing who started his career at guard, played nearly half the minutes at power forward. Even with Anthony Davis healthy, this was, and remains, a very small team. They badly needed a human forward, but forward-sized human beings are among the NBA’s rarest commodities. They got Stanley Johnson on the scrap heap last season and got meaningful production. Being 6-foot-8 and playing with energy is extremely beneficial.

Hachimura is this season’s low-risk, high-reward, high-stakes advantage. Johnson was a very poor shooter. Hachimura is more of a mixed bag. He’s attempted just 2.5 3-pointers per game for his career, and his percentages are inconsistent for his career. In the year He made 33.3 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3s in 2021 and is there again this season, but he made 47 percent last year. The truth is somewhere in between, but Hakimura has never faced a player like LeBron James and never had a big man like Anthony Davis. He’s made 42 percent of his wide-open 3s this season, but has made just 50 of those attempts. He earns a lot as a Laker.

His defense is inconsistent, but the metrics are trending in the right direction. FiveThirtyEight’s RAPTOR And Dunks & Threes’ EPM Both consider it a minor positive. It’s not hard to see why. The athletic 6-foot-8 frame with a 7-foot-2 wingspan has always been a problem, and the Wizards have used him against their best opposing scorer in recent years. He’s a no-stopper, but it’s just important to have a player with the right physicality to guard those players because LeBron James will prove he doesn’t need to. The Lakers have solved that problem so far with the extremely underrated Patrick Beverley. It didn’t go well.

Hachimura’s progress has been uneven in Washington. The Lakers have a strong track record with such players. Renew Malik Monk’s price a season ago. They did the same with Lonnie Walker IV this season. The Lakers do well with young athletes who can shoot. That pretty much describes Hachimura. The Lakers have spent months trying to find a way to acquire such a player without involving their 2027 or 2029 first-round pick. Now they have done so.

And this is the only thing that prevents them from getting A. This is a good business. The Lakers need a big trade to get into the championship picture. Hachimura will enter as a rotation player. They are at least one solid starter away from real contention, and that player should come in Hachimura’s spot. Former Washington teammate Kyle Kuzama discussed it as an opportunity. Bojan Bogdanovic too. The Lakers have improved going forward. They are still thin out there. If this is the first of many trades the Lakers will make? Very well, they have the opportunity to make some noise.

If they see this business as their only move? Well, things are going to go wrong. Not only will this likely eliminate them from championship contention this offseason, but ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Lakers plan to re-sign Hachimura after the season. It’s good in theory. In practice, the Lakers are a team designed to maximize cap space this offseason, where they can generate nearly $34 million in cap space to chase players from other teams. Hachimura’s $18.8 million cap makes that even more difficult. It’s an easy pill to swallow if it helps the Lakers make a deep playoff run, but that may not happen without another deal. All of this raises enough questions to drop the grade to an “A-,” but all things considered, getting this kind of talent without giving up a first-round pick is a complete win for the Lakers.

Washington Wizards: D-

The Wizards didn’t make it any worse with this trade. That’s as much credit as they deserve here. They did not take a long term salary. They don’t give choices. In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t a bad business. It’s just disappointing.

Say Hakimura Johnny Davis. It’s not some lottery draw that immediately confirms he can’t play at the NBA level. Hachimura was fairly good as a wizard in four seasons of episodes. Averaged 13 points with decent overall performance and league-average 3-point shooting isn’t a pass. Most metrics have rated him at a premium as an average defender this season. At various times in his career, he has taken on the toughest challenges. He has good physical tools and has more or less lived up to the expectations of a late lottery pick.

That might not be a player to build around, but a player to invest in. That’s something the Wizards haven’t done in a while. The last Wizards draft pick to get an extension? That’s Otto Porter Jr., who was taken in the 2013 NBA draft a decade ago. Let’s take a look at their first round picks since then:

Once again, the Wizards have proven unwilling or unable to properly develop young players. That makes it even more difficult for them as their two injury-prone stars, Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis, come out of their careers where they could have kept this team together without a fan base. If the Wizards can’t build an internal support system soon, any semblance of competition this team is expected to have will quickly fade away, and it will be up to them to develop the young players they can draft at the top of the lottery. The only way to escape from under the stairs.

Right now, the Wizards don’t seem equipped to do that. Whether or not Hakimura lives up to Washington’s expectations is almost irrelevant. He is a talented young player. The Wizards don’t have many of those. A handful of second-round picks isn’t a good enough replacement for one, but given their history, it’s just what they can expect to turn their talented young players into.

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