3. Rui Hachimura
Rui Hachimura was the first player that the Los Angeles Lakers traded for this season and it looked like he was primed to have a decent role on this basketball team. However, once the team made other additions, his role in the rotation started to decrease.
Since the all-star break, Hachimura has looked timider and has received less playing time. That is all going to change with LeBron James out of action as there are forward minutes that need to be filled by Hachimura.
The Lakers need Rui Hachimura to step up his scoring.
Hachimura obviously is not going to replace the scoring that LeBron James was giving the team but he is going to have to see an increase in his scoring averages. Lakers fans already have seen how talented he can be scoring the basketball so the potential is there.
As valuable as Jarred Vanderbilt now is to this basketball team, especially on the defensive end, he is not much of a scoring threat in the half-court offense. Hachimura can be and he is going to have to make up for some of the offensive holes that Vanderbilt has as they will be playing alongside each other a lot more.
Lakers fans should go back and watch the back-to-back games against the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks from January. Hachimura dropped 35 points across those two games on 14-25 shooting while going 3-6 from three.
The potential is there for Hachimura to take the leap to be a 17-point per-game scorer while LeBron is out. He just needs to take that step.