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NBA Forwards Rui Hachimura and Yuta Watanabe Have Coped with Injuries This Season

Hachimura and Watanabe have missed a combined 29 NBA games in the first half of the 2023-24 season for the Lakers and Suns, respectively.



Los Angeles Lakers forward Rui Hachimura drives to the basket against Utah Jazz forward John Collins during the second quarter at Delta Center in Salt Lake City on January 13, 2024. (Rob Gray/USA TODAY SPORTS)

Read the full story on SportsLook - NBA Forwards Rui Hachimura and Yuta Watanabe Have Coped with Injuries This Season

In the first half of the 2023-24 NBA season, Rui Hachimura and Japanese compatriot Yuta Watanabe had uneven stretches but also made solid contributions for the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns, respectively.

Both players also missed a significant number of games.

Through Tuesday, January 16, Hachimura has appeared in 27 of the Lakers' 41 games. He's been sidelined due to a concussion, wrist and calf injuries and a broken nose in November 2023 that required surgery (he wore a protective face mask upon his return to action).

Watanabe has played in 25 of the Suns' 40 games.

Phoenix Suns forward Yuta Watanabe shoots the ball during the fourth quarter against the host Los Angeles Clippers at Crypto.com Arena on January 8. (Kiyoshi Mio/USA TODAY SPORTS)

Teams' Records in the 2023-24 NBA Season

Los Angeles, which reached the Western Conference finals in the 2022-23 season after acquiring Hachimura in a trade with the Washington Wizards, is currently in 10th place in the Western Conference with a 20-21 record.

Phoenix (22-18, eighth in the West) has one more game to play before it completes 50% of its schedule.

The NBA season is 82 games. So, for better or for worse (or perhaps expectations for more of the same) we're at a sensible point where players' and teams' performances can be projected for the full season.

The Lakers' Rui Hachimura, seen in action against New Orleans Pelicans guard Trey Murphy III in an NBA In Season Tournament semifinal on December 7, 2023, in Las Vegas, has scored 20 or more points four times this season. (Kyle Terada/USA TODAY SPORTS)

A Quick Look at Hachimura's Statistics

How has Hachimura played?

Making five starts in his 27 appearances to date, the Toyama native is averaging 23.1 minutes, 11.8 points (the team's fifth-leading scorer), 3.6 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.3 blocks.

He's shooting 49% from the floor and 37% from 3-point range.

At times, Hachimura has been an offensive spark for the Lakers, giving them an additional boost to supplement the impact of primary scorers Anthony Davis and LeBron James. For example, in back-to-back wins over the Portland Trail Blazers and Memphis Grizzlies on November 12 and 14, the Gonzaga University alum poured in 19 and 23 points, going 3-for-3 from 3-point range in the latter contest.

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.



Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and X (formerly Twitter) @ed_odeven

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