WASHINGTON -- The Wizards continue to work Rui Hachimura back slowly from his extended absence due to personal reasons with individual workouts at the team's practice facility and, so far, with doors closed to the media. But beyond the incremental process of getting him into game shape, he also needs to adjust to a new system under head coach Wes Unseld Jr.
Hachimura is entering his third NBA season having played his first two under Scott Brooks. Unseld Jr. was hired over the summer and has different philosophies on both ends of the floor.
According to Unseld Jr., the process of Hachimura learning their plays has been ongoing and has included discussions with the coach himself.
"I think the biggest thing for Rui, as far as the basketball stuff, is just learning terminology. He’s been around for, I think, basketball long enough to know that there’s certain basics," Unseld Jr. explained.
"We all have different terminology. It’s just a change in verbiage more than anything. He’s got access to our video playbook and I know he’s taken a look at some of that stuff. We’ve talked about it."
Hachimura, 23, has never come off the bench in his 105 career NBA games. General manager Tommy Sheppard said going into the season he expected Hachimura to remain in his role as the starting power forward.
But that was before Hachimura spent time away, missing all of training camp, the preseason and now several weeks of the regular season. The Wizards have had Kyle Kuzma in his place and he has played well, with the Wizards off to a 5-2 start.
Whatever role Hachimura serves in when he returns, Unseld Jr. is confident his integration will be seamless.
"I think he has a general feel for how we play, what kind of shots we’re looking for, how we want to space the floor. It just boils down to getting those reps. When that time is right, getting him on the floor and getting him through some of those things will help expedite that," Unseld Jr. said.