Wizards

Hachimura earning All-Rookie a good sign for Wizards' future

Wizards

Rui Hachimura had one of the best seasons for a Wizards rookie in decades and that was cemented on Tuesday as he earned second team All-Rookie honors, becoming the first All-Rookie Wizards player since Bradley Beal in 2013.

Hachimura is just the third Wizards player to get the honors since 2004, the other being John Wall, who was first-team in 2011. It doesn't happen often in Washington, but Hachimura separated himself this season by averaging 13.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

Hachimura's scoring average ranked sixth among rookies this season, while his rebounds were second behind only Zion Williamson. Williamson (Pelicans) made first team along with Ja Morant (Grizzlies), Kendrick Nunn (Heat), Eric Paschall (Warriors) and Hachimura's college teammate, Brandon Clarke (Grizzlies). Joining Hachimura on the second team were Coby White (Bulls), Tyler Herro (Heat), Terence Davis II (Raptors) and P.J. Washington (Hornets).

Hachimura getting the nod is a good sign for the Wizards' organization as they enter the second year of a new-look front office led by general manager Tommy Sheppard. The first draft pick for the new regime brought immediate dividends for the franchise. Many first-round picks before him took time to develop, even those who were taken higher.

Hachimura, 22, translated quickly to the NBA level, reaching double figures in points 34 times in 48 games this season. Wall and Beal are the only two Wizards players to have more games of 10-plus points as rookies than Hachimura since Juwan Howard in 1994-95.

What Hachimura becomes from here, only time will tell. But him making All-Rookie should quiet some of the criticism the team received on draft night for reaching to pick him. Hachimura was projected by many mock drafts to go in the teens, but the Wizards saw him as worthy of the ninth pick. So far, they have been proven right.

 

Hachimura is now a legitimate building block for the team that can be counted in the starting lineup likely for years to come. Wall and Beal are set to return next season from injury and reunite alongside Hachimura, who will play an important role as one of the team's top scorers. 

In addition to his points and rebounds, Hachimura shot a solid 46.6 percent from the field this season and averaged nearly a steal per game (0.8). Moving forward, he will look to improve his three-point percentage (28.7%) as well as his defense.

But in his first season, Hachimura did everything the Wizards could ask for, and he now has some accolades to show for it.