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Minnesota committed to picking Rui Hachimura in 2019 NBA Draft

The Minnesota Timberwolves landed the 11th selection in the 2019 NBA Draft. Though this isn’t the deepest draft class, the T’Wolves could still acquire a player that makes an immediate impact next season. Apparently, they have already made their decision: Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders.

If Kyler is right, that would be an easy answer for why Hachimura did not attend the combine. There is no point working out for the entire league if you already know your destination.

Hachimura showed significant growth in his three years at Gonzaga. By the end of his junior season, the Japanese wing averaged 19.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, and one steal a game. He also impressed with his shooting ability, shooting 59 percent from the floor and 42 percent from beyond the three-point line. All of his stats in his latest season were career highs.

Hachimura helped Gonzaga get all the way to the Elite Eight, where they fell to Texas Tech. In his final game, Hachimura put on a show, scoring 22 points and grabbing six rebounds. Even after the loss, the performance could have helped convince scouts of his potential at the next level as a versatile defender who can knock down open shots and exploit mismatches in the post.

While he might be a level or two below Zion Williamson and this draft’s other elite prospects, Hachimura still has the tools to be productive as a rookie. Pairing him with Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins would create a lengthy and imposing frontcourt.