The Toronto Raptors have been watching some of their less-heralded players dominate the rest of the competition in FIBA play. Be it Dalano Banton with Team Canada in the FIBA AmeriCup or Juancho Hernangomez representing Spain in EuroBasket play, the early returns have been encouraging.
The Raptors are taking a flier on Hernangomez, as he is just one year removed from a poor season in which he bounced around the NBA and never seemed to get comfortable with Utah, Boston, or San Antonio.
There’s still plenty of offensive potential to mine out of a player who is a few years removed from being picked in the first round.
While Hernangomez, who signed a one-year contract with Toronto, struggled during his first extended action with the Spanish national team, he has rebounded in a big way. Hernangomez was trusted to be one of the main offensive catalysts for Spain, and he did not disappoint. The final was his crowning achievement.
Hernangomez set a record with seven three-pointers in a 27-point effort that saw Spain claim the title for the fourth time in six years. France, led by Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier, was unable to take down the Raptors’ backup despite some strong performances of their own.
Toronto Raptors: Juancho Hernangomez balled for Spain.
Hernangomez averaged 12.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per game with Spain in this competition. Alongside his brother and Pelicans center Willy, Hernangomez showed that his ability to rise up from 3-point range is so deadly that he should be given an extended NBA role.
Hernangomez shot 52% from the field and 38% from 3-point range while attempting just over five triples per contest. The Hernangomez boys and former Raptor Lorenzo Brown were able to score most of the points for Spain in this competition. The French had no answer for Bo Cruz’s shooting.
Spain had a very distinct Raptors flavor to it this year. Not only were Hernangomez and Brown two of the top three scorers, but the team was coached by former Toronto assistant Sergio Scariolo. You can guarantee Scariolo is going to put in a good word with Nick Nurse.
While this may not guarantee him a very expansive role with the Raptors given all of the differences between the international game and the NBA, it will undoubtedly help him go into the preseason with tons of momentum and confidence. All signs are pointing towards him making the final roster.