Raptors: Juancho Hernangomez playing well on international stage

The Toronto Raptors decided to dip their toes far into the free agent pool to find one of their later roster additions. Juancho Hernangomez, fresh off his tour de force showing as Bo Cruz in Adam Sandler’s Hustle, signed a one-year deal with Toronto that gives him some guaranteed money.

Even though he had a tough 2021-22 season that saw him bounce around the league, the former Utah Jazz big man has many of the traits that the Raptors like to see from their big men. The 6-9 power forward should be a nice shooting option to lean on as a reserve.

Hernangomez decided that the best way to show that he is a man on a mission hellbent on reclaiming a permanent role in the NBA is to put together a string of good performances with the Spanish national team. He was playing some quality basketball over the last few days for his country.

Hernangomez put up 10 points and eight rebounds as Spain took home a narrow victory over a Greece squad that rested Giannis Antetokounmpo. Hernangomez may have been outshined by brother Willy, but he looked ready to contribute to the Raptors this season in a very limited role.

Toronto Raptors: Juancho Hernangomez is playing good basketball.

Hernangomez has averaged 5.4 points per game in his career whole making 35% of his 3-point attempts, but his numbers have jumped up a bit ever since he decided to leave the Nuggets. While that 12.9 points per game effort he flexed in Minnesota likely isn’t indicative of the player he is, he still has value.

Hernangomez has a history playing well for the Spanish national team, as he averaged 10.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game during the FIBA World Cup in 2019. Perhaps not coincidentally, that gold medal showing preceded a very successful stint with the Timberwolves.

On a Raptors team that is clearly willing to bring Christian Koloko along as slowly as possible, Hernangomez might be able to sneak into the rotation over fellow non-guaranteed players like DJ Wilson. If Khem Birch is not in Nick Nurse’s good graces, Juancho could capitalize.

While it’s nice to see players like Scottie Barnes and Malachi Flynn dominating on the pro-am circuit, Hernangomez getting his shots up in tightly-contested international matches gives them a bit more meaning. We’ll see if it translates over to the NBA, or if it will help him beat out incumbents for Raptors rotation time.