2019 NBA Mock Draft: Full first round as lottery nears

(Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /
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Gonzaga Rui Hachimura (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Gonzaga Rui Hachimura (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

142. . F. Gonzaga. Rui Hachimura. 6. player

Age: 21
Height, Weight: 6-foot-8, 234 pounds
Slash Line: .591/.417/.739
Season Averages: 19.7 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.5 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.7 BPG, 0.4 3PM

The Washington Wizards’ decline turned rapid in the 2018-19 season. They started the year poorly, with continuous losses and team discontent. Then John Wall suffered a season-ending heel injury, only to rupture his Achilles in a home accident, which will remove him for most of next season.

The season was punted, and Otto Porter Jr. was traded, among others.

Now, the Wizards have the chance to regroup around Bradley Beal and Tomas Satoransky. It starts with their projected sixth pick of the 2019 NBA Draft. They have needs all over the roster, so taking whoever is the best player available makes sense. Rui Hachimura is one of them.

The Gonzaga forward showcased in his first full season as a starter, despite playing as a junior. His 19.7 points led the Bulldogs to the Elite Eight and a stellar regular season.

A few years ago, Hachimura’s lack of shooting would make him a tweener at 6-foot-8, 234 pounds. With “positionless” basketball real for most NBA teams, it removes that caveat and makes the Japanese sensation a fit almost anywhere.

In Washington, Hachimura improves the Thomas Bryant-led frontline and offers someone to play off him. Not Dwight Howard, who had an injury-riddled season and opted into his contract for next season.

Hachimura would make for a defensive upgrade at forward for the New York Knicks. Can he stretch the floor enough for Mitchell Robinson, though?