The smooth forward out of Gonzaga drew some serious attention from NBA scouts after a breakout junior season. Showcasing the ability to effectively score at all three levels along with an NBA-ready frame, Rui Hachimura‘s age is one of the only things keeping him out of the top tier of draft prospects.
His game doesn’t have many glaring holes and while he will likely struggle a bit on the defensive side at first, Hachimura showed an impressive ability to rapidly improve from season to season and despite his age, that trend should be expected to continue moving forward. He might not be an immediate impact player but he should develop into one fairly quickly.
Rui Hachimura NBA Draft Projection: Latest Mock Draft Projections
Rui Hachimura is a fringe back of the lottery candidate in most mock drafts entering the NBA Draft. ESPN’s latest mock draft has him set to go 12th to the Charlotte Hornets while Sports Illustrated has him going 11th to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Hachimura has the ability to contribute solid minutes on the offensive end right away, however, his defensive abilities will likely limit his role until he adapts to the NBA game. Hachimura was not a good defender the majority of his time at Gonzaga but steadily improved to the point where he was far from a liability by the end of the season.
Rui Hachimura NBA Draft Projection: Spurs and Pistons Among Best Fits
When watching Rui Hachimura, it is hard not to see shades of Tobias Harris in his game. While neither is an elite athlete, both are smart scorers who use their size and strength advantages to help offset their lack of otherworldly athleticism. As a result, the Pistons – who developed Harris – could be an intriguing fit for Hachimura. The Pistons desperately need any and all help they can get and Hachimura would be afforded the time to develop behind fellow power forward Blake Griffin.
Similar to the Pistons offering him a spot to develop at the NBA level, the Spurs would also give him an excellent opportunity to grow into a well-rounded player. Able to be stashed behind star LaMarcus Aldridge and with time to develop in the Spurs legendary system, it wouldn’t be farfetched to see Hachimura eventually thriving as a key player on the Spurs down the road. Gregg Popovich‘s defense-first mindset should do wonders to help round out his game while the unselfish nature of the Spurs’ offense should suit his offensive game well.
However, the Pistons pick 15th and the Spurs pick 19th, giving them an unlikely chance to actually land Hachimura. If he does wind up slipping in the draft after forgoing the combine, keep an eye on these two teams to take a chance and scoop up the promising forward from Gonzaga.