Wizards’ Bradley Beal compares Rui Hachimura to Kawhi Leonard
There were times throughout the 2019-20 NBA season where Bradley Beal was visibly frustrated. The Washington Wizards shooting guard went nuclear after the All-Star break after a perceived snub. This included a pair of 50-point performances in consecutive games against the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks. But the Wizards kept losing, and Beal was not shy about hiding his disappointment.
However, the truth of the matter is Beal has plenty of respect for his young Wizards teammates. He had especially high praise for rookie forward Rui Hachimura.
“He’s not Kawhi, but he plays like him,” Beal said. “He has a high ceiling. He’s not really a four. We can really make him into a three. We can make him into a playmaker. He can post up smaller guys. He can guard bigger guys. He’s very versatile in a lot of ways. I love him. He’s a workhorse. I don’t know who he’s really comparable to, because his ceiling’s that high.”
Hachimura is more of a hybrid forward with tremendous athleticism.
The Toyama, Japan native is averaging 13.4 points and 6.0 rebounds while shooting close to 48 percent from the floor.
There had been concerns about Hachimura’s ability to guard leading into the 2019 NBA Draft. But the versatility Beal mentioned has helped him switch onto opposing small forwards, when necessary.
Hachimura has good footwork in the post and he also faces up bigger forwards, using his quickness to try to create space or get to the rim. The Wizards might stand to benefit even more if Hachimura can hone his perimeter stroke, as he was shooting just over 27 percent from beyond the arc prior to the suspension of play.