Do not trade Rui!

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If you were to look up Rui Hachimura on Google, you would see a report of the Miami Heat having interest in trading for him. If I were Tommy Sheppard, I would immediately hang up the phone if anyone calls to ask about a Hachimura trade. Trading Rui Hachimura should be completely out of the question. In my opinion anyways. Recently, there was a report from Zach Lowe that everyone on the Wizards is available for trade talks except for Bradley Beal. Hachimura should be in the “not available for trade talks” group with Bradley Beal.

Kind of going off topic for a bit. But it will make sense

Back in 2014, I told my friends that Bradley Beal was going to be a really good player. My case was straightforward. In the 2014 playoffs, Bradley Beal stepped up when the Wizards needed him down the stretch in game 2 against the Chicago Bulls. This might not seem like a big deal. I mean of course Beal stepped up. That’s what he is supposed to do. But keep this in mind. In 2014, John Wall was the only All Star on the Washington Wizards. Bradley Beal was only in his second NBA season. The 2014 playoffs was the first playoff appearance for the Wizards in the Wall/Beal era. The playoffs are a different animal, and the atmosphere can easily throw young players off. In 2014, John Wall and Bradley Beal were 23 and 20 years old respectively.

While Wall was struggling a little bit in game 2, Beal found his offensive rhythm. Down the stretch, Beal scored time and time again to keep the Wizards in the game. The Wizards would go on to win game 2 in overtime, with Beal scoring 26 points and grabbing 7 rebounds. I believe that one of the best indicators of a young player’s potential is how they perform on the biggest stage. In the NBA, the biggest stage is the playoffs. As fans, we know that the pressure in the playoffs is different from the pressure during the regular season. There’s a lot of excitement during the playoffs, and if your team qualified, you are very nervous. If you are nervous as a fan, then the players on your team are feeling those nerves on a much higher level.

Game 4 vs. Philadelphia 2021 Playoffs

In the playoffs, the attention to detail going into every game is much higher. Stuff that you were successful with during the regular season, might not work in the playoffs. The atmosphere is intense, and you can feel the energy from the crowd. As a young player, can you navigate through all of that? Can you find a way to block out all of the outside noise and focus on the task at hand? In Beal’s case, he did exactly that in 2014.

Going into the Game 4, the Wizards were trailing the Sixers 3-0. No team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit. But even if that is the case, no one is trying to get swept. If you are the team down 0-3, you are doing everything you can to not get swept.

In game 4, the Wizards had the ball up 3 with under a minute remaining in the game. Not a big lead by any means. Bradley Beal drove the baseline and found a wide open Rui Hachimura in the corner. Without hesitation, Hachimura elevated for the corner three and knocked down the shot. Giving the Wizards a 6 point lead with 45.6 seconds left in the game. The Wizards would go on to win Game 4 and avoid the sweep. In Game 4, Hachimura scored 20 points on 8 for 12 shooting from the field and 3 for 6 shooting from three, to go along with 13 rebounds.

The Wizards would go on to lose the series in 5 games. But for the series, Hachimura averaged 14.8 points per game, while shooting 61.5 percent from the field. This is against a really good defensive team in the Philadelphia 76ers. When the season was on the line, Rui Hachimura stepped up and knocked down a big shot to save the season. During the 2021 playoffs, when the lights are the brightest and the intensity of the game is elevated, Hachimura stepped up. As a second year player, that is not easy to do.

Why you should not trade Rui Hachimura

Hachimura is a young player who has proven that when the pressure is on, he can step up. That tells me a lot about his potential as a player. In order to have a team that can win, you need to have players who can step up in the playoffs. When Bradley Beal or Kyle Kuzma is being double teamed, who can step up and knock down big shots? Who can step up and have a big game, when one of your star players is struggling. In Game 4, Russell Westbrook shot 3 for 19 from the field, while Bradley Beal was 9 for 23 from the field. Westbrook and Beal needed someone to step up. Hachimura did just that.

Is he going to become an All Star like Bradley Beal? I’m not sure to be honest. With Beal it was more obvious to me because he was 1B to John Wall’s 1A. He was going to get more opportunities to show what he can do. With Hachmura, that is not the case. Last year, the offense revolved around Westbrook and Beal. This year, with all the depth that Washington has, Hachimura won’t get the same minutes he did last year.

But can he be the guy who can get you 15-16 points per game, and knock down big shots? For sure! That is why the Washington Wizards should not trade Rui Hachimura.

Video Credit: House of Highlights

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