Rui Hachimura On How Much The Trade Meant For Himself and Japan

Rui Hachimura was traded on Monday to the Los Angeles Lakers and made his debut Wednesday night against the San Antonio Spurs. He played in 21 minutes and had 12 points and 6 rebounds in the Lakers' win. After the game, Hachimura spoke about how important the trade was to him and his home country of Japan.

Rui was told in the post-game conference that servers in Japan crashed because so many people were trying to tune into his debut. His response was that the "Lakers are the most famous team in Japan, literally." He added that "as a country, we are so happy about this move and I'm so happy to be here too."

Hachimura is just one of two players from Japan that are currently in the NBA. Yuta Watanabe of the Nets is the other. 

The Wizards drafted Hachimura ninth overall in 2019. He has been a consistent scorer averaging around 12 to 13 points per game. After acquiring Kyle Kuzma, the Wizards had a dilemma in having two of the same player in that position that required minutes. Ironically, Kuzma was on the Lakers where he saw his minutes dwindling and now Hachimura is in Los Angeles looking to get more playing time.

With Anthony Davis also returning to the lineup, the Lakers are looking to make strides in the Western Conference. They are only three games out of the fourth seed and possible home-court advantage in the first round of a playoff series. A low post scorer was a dire need for the Lakers and they now have LeBron James, Davis, and Hachimura to hopefully bring that spark. 

Los Angeles plays a tough matchup on Saturday night in Boston against a Celtics team that has won eight of their last ten games. A historic rivalry as well that Hachimura will get a taste of and hopes to have a positive impact on the game. Undoubtedly, the country of Japan will be watching.

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