Wizards

Hachimura to begin practicing with Go-Go

Wizards
Rui Hachimura

Rui Hachimura's road towards returning from a long absence due to personal reasons will start accelerating next week, as he is expected to begin training with the Capital City Go-Go, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

Hachimura, 23, could start working with them as soon as Monday. He has been doing individual work at the Wizards' practice facility in southeast D.C. since arriving in town in early October.

Wizards president Tommy Sheppard mentioned the possibility Hachimura could appear in games with the Go-Go in an interview with the Team 980 on Wednesday. The Wizards have sent NBA veterans to practice with the Go-Go before, like Dwight Howard during the 2018-19 season, but no one as established as Hachimura has played in a game.

Wizards officials have seen encouraging progress in Hachimura's workouts behind closed doors in recent days and weeks. One source familiar with their plans expressed optimism it will not take long before he's ready to play in an NBA game. At this point, it is mostly about getting his conditioning up to speed.

The third-year forward missed training camp and has been sidelined for the Wizards' first 14 games. Despite his lengthy absence, the Wizards did not issue any fines or withhold paychecks for his time away.

While Hachimura has been out, Kyle Kuzma has started at power forward. The Wizards have started the season 10-4, their best record to this point since 1974-75.

Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. admitted it will be "a challenge" reincorporating Hachimura once he is ready to make his season debut. Complicating matters is a new coaching staff and a host of new teammates.

 

The Wizards have been teaching him the newly-installed system using a video playbook and through conversations with the coaching staff. He has been around teammates in the practice facility, but has yet to get on the court with them. 

Through two NBA seasons, Hachimura has averaged 13.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, starting each of the 105 games he has played. He was the ninth overall pick in the 2019 draft.