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Rui Hachimura Helps, but the Lakers Can’t Contend without Another Trade | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

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Rui HachimuraElsa/Getty Images

On the night LeBron James recorded his first triple-double of the season and moved to fourth on the NBA’s all-time assists rankings, it was Rui Hachimura’s performance that could have a big impact on the long-term prospects of the Los Angeles Lakers. was.

Just a week after the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Hachimura to pick up Kendrick Nunn and a future second-round pick, he scored 19 points in LA’s 129-123 victory over the New York Knicks. It was a plus four.

A win at Madison Square Garden moved the Lakers within four games of a .500 record and within two games of a play-in tournament. And we got a glimpse of how Hachimura changed the shape of his LA floor.

Throughout his increasingly legendary career, LeBron has found success as perhaps the most dangerous slash-and-kick weapon ever seen. In his 20th NBA season, LeBron is still able to break the seal on his defense on the perimeter. And once inside, he has the size, vision and strength to hit the best options in the kickout.

Of course, that’s assuming there are good options on the floor with LeBron.

Heading into victory over the Knicks on Tuesday, the Lakers 26th Dead at a rate of 3 points in league past With a three made for every 100 possessions.

Since the start of the 2021-22 season, Hachimura has averaged 1.2 3s and shot from deep 39.4% in just 23.3 minutes. If it continues, he will help his LA in each of the aforementioned teams in his category.

And if Tuesday is any indication, he should actually be able to keep it.

Hachimura scored twice 3-4 against the Knicks and seemed used to playing floor spacers and pinching LeBron’s drives, but that’s all he brought. I didn’t.

Hachimura scores above average before and after the trade efficiency As a LeBron teammate, he was able to get even more opportunities there.

the lakers The second The pace of play is fast in the league, and Hachimura is already benefiting from that trait in his new team.

On Tuesday he was delivered a runout jam by Russell Westbrook…

NBA @NBA

Russ is steel.
Louis dunks.

The Lakers are off to a good start on TNT. pic.twitter.com/j37ncDGvOP

…and another one from LeBron.

What he doesn’t show much of is his mid-game (although he did hit two midrange jumpers against New York). He may not need to be on a team with LeBron or Anthony Davis, but knowing there is a potential escape valve should help.

Still, despite the good vibes from the win, it’s hard to avoid this team’s wide-angle lens perspective.

Again, 4 games below .500. Even in a year when equality seemed to have leveled the playing field in the middle of the West, the Lakers are out of the play-in picture.LeBron is now up against Further his time, but he’s 38 I’m old. His availability is not guaranteed.

Russell Westbrook has settled well into the reserve role, but off-ball defensive blunders and questionable late-game decision-making are still all too common. LA is minus 9.4 Points per 100 clutches (defined by the league as the last 5 minutes of a game within 5 points) possessions while Westbrook is on the floor.

If the Lakers can package his expiring contract with a first-round pick (or two) for another player (or multiple players) that checks some of the same boxes as Hachimura, LA is on the fringe. You can go from a play-in team to an empty team. I would love to see it in a 7 game series.

Obviously there is some variation in the prices for each of the following…

Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, a handful of Toronto Raptors, Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier, Bojan Bogdanovich, Alec Burks, Doug McDermott and a handful of Utah Jazz players…

…you may have them all before the February 9 trading deadline.

And, of course, rumors of “Westbrook, Turner and Buddy Hield’s 2027 and 2029 first-round picks” die out, even after Myles Turner reaches an agreement to extend his contract with the Indiana Pacers this month. It is not.

According to ESPN Bobby Marksthe deal will not affect Turner’s trade eligibility, and Tyrese Halliburton’s recent absence is contributing to Indiana’s drop out of the East’s top 10.

A lineup of LeBron, Heald, Hachimura, AD and Turner could, at least in theory, accomplish much of what it was like to be LA Champions in 2020.

With Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, this team embraced the “LeBron and shooter” philosophy that we’ve ruled for years, but Davis and Dwight Howard or JaVale McGee I was also able to beat the people inside with a lineup that combined the

All of the above, plus imagine Turner’s ability to hit threes (something Howard and McGee certainly didn’t offer).

It’s easy to justify sitting on the 2027 and 2029 picks.

But at this point in LeBron’s illustrious career, no individual season can be taken for granted. He’s got the front-office aggression he needs to contend for the championship. A Hachimura trade would help, but it shouldn’t be the last move for the Lakers.

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