The Toronto Raptors are still trying to figure out which of their non-guaranteed contracts are going to serve as the back end of the bench in the regular season. Several players included in that group are former first-round picks looking for a new home, Juancho Hernangomez being the most prominent of them all.
Hernangomez, who became famous on the silver screen thanks to his role in Adam Sandler’s Hustle as Bo Cruz, signed a one-year guaranteed contract with Toronto. The fact that his deal is guaranteed may hint at the idea of him getting a leg up in the race for one of the final roster spots.
Considering names like DJ Wilson and the recently signed Josh Jackson will compete with the Spanish big man for time in the lineup, Juancho can’t stroll into Scotiabank Arena and expect to be handed minutes. A strong preseason will be critical for him as he tries to stick it out.
Hernangomez has already outlasted Svi Mykhailiuk in the race for one of the final spots on the roster, and there is momentum building for Juancho to make it onto the final roster. It’s incumbent on him to take this goodwill and use it to become a player Toronto can deploy in crucial situations.
Toronto Raptors season preview: Will Juancho Hernangomez play well?
Stats: 3.3 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 0.6 APG, 0.4 SPG, 41.5% FG, 35% 3PT
Hernangomez started last season with the Celtics, but was later traded to the rebuilding Spurs. After being flipped to Utah, Hernangonez started to get back on track before he was not retained by the Jazz due to their organizational overhaul.
Hernangomez has had mixed results while playing for the Spanish national team. After a strong start against Greece, he took a step backward in a win against the Netherlands, scoring just five points. He bounced back in a recent victory against Bulgaria.
Hernangomez might not have the best raw stats, but his 3-point percentage shows that he can be an effective floor-stretcher for even the most demanding coaches. Just a year removed from playing well under former Raptors assistant Chris Finch (who ran a similar scheme) in Minnesota, Juancho’s offense will give him a leg up over Wilson.
Hernangomez is coming off one of the worst seasons of his career. Three separate teams, both tankers and contenders alike, had a look at Hernangomez and decided that he was not worth retaining. He is not going to be a very impactful defender, further limiting the value that Hernangomez brings to the table.
Throughout his career, Hernangomez has proven he can be counted on when asked to hit a few jumpers and create positional mismatches. While he’s not a rotation player as of right now, the Raptors should have no issue with throwing him into the lineup and letting his sweet shooting get them tough buckets every now and again.