Sheppard believes the experience will be a major part of Hachimura’s development and the franchise supports his decision to play for his home country in Tokyo this summer.
Hachimura, who turned 23 in February, improved in several areas this season, increasing his points per game, field goal percentage, and three-point percentage. Although, his greatest step may have been on the defensive end where the Wizards routinely used him to cover the opponent’s best player.
“This summer is going to be big for Rui,” coach Scott Brooks said while adding that the forward doesn’t “shy away from the work.”
Russell Westbrook has continuously spoken highly of Hachimura, particularly on defense. Yet, the former MVP has greater expectations for the former No. 9 overall pick.
“Rui has so many different tools. He’s so good, so talented. My challenge to him is to be able to do it every night,” Russell Westbrook said of Hachimura after Game 5 of the team’s first-round series in Philadelphia.