Rui Hachimura, the Washington Wizards first-round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, told reporters on Thursday that he spent the majority of quarantine working out in his home in Los Angeles, California. As any rookie entering the league may feel during a ‘normal’ season, there is pressure to perform at the highest level. Throw in COVID-19 and all the obstacles this global pandemic has brought, and basketball gets that much more complicated. However, Head Coach Scott Brooks is confident in what Hachimura has been able to accomplish about 3,000 miles away in L.A., “I like his improvement, I like his consistency this year, I like his work ethic and like I said, not too many rookies come in, start right away. Not too many rookies come in and really stay consistent. He very rarely had a slump. He had one recently, but he was able to get out of it and it’s been pretty impressive to see his consistent play throughout the season, but we’re looking forward to getting back. He looks great now, saw him yesterday having a good workout in our facility.” Coach Brooks and the staff have great expectations for Hachimura to improve all aspects of his game. Brooks has assured Hachimura that he will continue to have coaches and staff supporting him and encouraging him throughout the continued growth process.
Part of the development process for Hachimura has been gaining confidence in his three-point shot. The Japanese Forward seems to be happy with the coaching he has received from the Wizards coaches and staff. Hachimura said that he has been working heavily on his ball-handling skills and has made adjustments to his three-point shot, “The coaches are doing a good job with the technique and stuff. I think it was more the confidence stuff. I think it’s getting better.” The rookie and the Wizards have spent a lot of their Zoom sessions watching playoff film. Veteran Guards John Wall and Bradley Beal have been present to explain how to handle playoff and pressure situations, “I played with Brad this whole year and obviously I haven’t played with John, so it was great to see how I can fit in this team in the future and stuff.”
Hachimura is optimistic about how things will play out in the bubble in Orlando, FL. He said, “It’s going to be a great opportunity to finish this season and then make the playoffs. I think our chemistry is up there right now.” Hachimura added that defense will play a key role in the success of the team.
The Washington Wizards are seeded 9th in the Eastern Conference. They are currently 5 ½ games behind the 8th spot held by the Orlando Magic. The Wizards record is 24-40.
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