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November mailbag Part 3: How will Rui Hachimura fit in with the Wizards?

That and questions about the trade block are in this part of the mailbag!

Indiana Pacers v Washington Wizards - Play-In Tournament
It remains to be seen how Rui Hachimura will fit into the Wizards when he returns.
Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

Here is the third and part of our November mailbag. The first two parts are below. Thanks again for all of your questions!


Does KCP go to the bench once Rui Hachimura gets his legs under him when he returns? (The HoopsGuru)

Albert: Not initially. However, if Rui is more consistent on the bench, then it’s likely that Hachimura gets back to the starting lineup sooner than expected. On the flip side, if Hachimura is a scoring beast off the bench where he is scoring over 15 points a game like Montrezl Harrell, it would make sense to keep him there for some time.

John Morrow: I’ve thought about KCP to the bench. I would be thinking about that, but I don’t see it unless the team really begins to struggle.

I have no clue what has gone on with Rui since the Olympics, but it might send a bad message to the team if a player who’s been guarding the best offensive player each night and part of a successful group is benched for a player who missed the first quarter of the season for unreleased reasons.

Can Hachimura and Kuzma play on the court together, along with a center, for long stretches? What is gained and lost? (EdDC and others)

Morrow: I certainly think so. Kuzma’s shooting volume and aptitude from the perimeter complement Rui well on offense and I think both can guard the wing. To me, that may end up being their best lineup. Shooting is lost but I would like to see the two paired with Bryant at times to regain some of that.

If Kuzma’s rebounding keeps up I could see them playing as the 4 and 5 together. I’m excited to see a potential lineup with Kuzma, Rui and Avdija together as well. Maybe even one with Bertans too. Having these guys who aren’t necessarily big wings but can pass for them is a great thing.

What will happen with Bertans once Rui comes back? I don’t see him cracking the rotation with Deni, Kuzma and Rui playing better than him. (The HoopsGuru)

Morrow: We’ve seen offensive struggles of late. Bertans will have a chance. But yes, I agree, that he is the fourth-best of that group with his shortcomings defensively.

Albert: Agree with Morrow on this one. If a player is paid nearly $20 million a year, he’s getting some time. Bertans has an elite skill, namely three-point shooting. If they are ever trading him in the near future, then they will have to showcase him as best they can.

How many minutes will TB play when he returns? Can you envision him playing some PF? (The HoopsGuru)

Morrow: TB will be all over the place with minutes. We’ve seen Gafford play less minutes already in some games, and I think Harrell can be cut back into the low 20s to keep him fresh. I can’t see Bryant playing some PF, but I can see Harrell playing it. That’ll be a rare circumstance as the team has so many natural 4s.

Would you listen to trades for Trez when the trade deadline approaches? (for who?) I don’t know if we’ll be able to afford him on his new contract unless Bertans’ contract is off the books. (TheHoopsGuru and WarsawKen)

Yanir Rubinstein: Too early to make these decisions. Definitely need patience. Harrell will definitely want a 3-5 year contract with a player option. Tommy Sheppard will have to gauge Bryant’s level and then make some difficult decisions as he’s already paying Gafford $13M/year next year and Beal’s extension is looming too. I can see Rui being traded if Harrell and Bryant are extended.

Albert: I’m not a trade wizard by any means. But for now, the Wizards should just listen to offers and only execute a trade if it helps an area where they aren’t as deep, especially the backcourt.