Rui Hachimura opened a new chapter in his NBA career on Wednesday (January 25) when the Japanese basketball hopeful made his debut for the Los Angeles Lakers in a 113-104 win over the San Antonio Spurs.
Hachimura came off the bench in the 22nd minute with 12 points and six rebounds. He had the best plus-minus of the game at +17.
The hype and anticipation in Japan for Hachimura’s Laker debut and fun LeBron James was that it crashed the NBA streaming service in that country.
Hachimura, traded to the Lakers from the Washington Wizards on Monday, entered the game with 4:22 left in the first quarter for Thomas Bryant.
About a minute later, Hachimura scored his first points in purple and gold from the charity strip, knocking down two free throws. He got his first proper bucket in the second quarter, a middle-distance pull-up jumper.
The Lakers hope Hachimura, one of the faces of Japan at the event Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, will give them much-needed support for the second half of the season. They are currently ranked 13th in the Western Conference, one game out of the preliminary tournament.
Hachimura, who will turn 25 next month, averaged 13.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in 24.3 minutes with the Wizards in his fourth NBA season. He was selected ninth overall in the 2019 draft from Gonzaga University.
Hachimura is expected to host his country from August 25 – September 10 FIBA World Cup co-hosted by Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia.