Let the Juancho Hernangomez era begin!
According to a report by Gigantes.com, the Denver Nuggets will add Juancho to their roster for the upcoming season.
From the article and via google translate:
"Juancho Hernangómez (2.06 m .; 20 years old) will continue his career in Denver Nuggets , as has been told Gigantes del Basket. Thus becomes the tenth player in the NBA Spanish course 2016-17 ."
The report has yet to be confirmed by The Denver Post, The Vertical, or any of the other major American NBA sources but we will update once that report becomes available. Earlier in the week, Altitutde's Vic Lombardi shared the same rumor. Vic is an Altitude employee and therefore closely involved with the Nuggets and probably would not report on something based on speculation. So there's a really good chance that this rumor is in fact true.
Sources tell the man typing this tweet that the Nuggets will more than likely keep Juancho here in Denver. He's just too good. #CasaBonita— Vic J Lombardi XXI (@VicLombardi) July 20, 2016
At the Nuggets' rookie introductory press conference, general manager Tim Connelly said that it was "50/50" whether or not the team would stash Juancho in Europe for a year or bring him over right away. After a phenomenal showing in Las Vegas Summer League in which the young forward averaged 10.2 points and 8.2 rebounds, the Nuggets have decided that the time is now for Juancho to play in the NBA.
Adding Juancho means that there will be 14 players with guaranteed contracts on the Nuggets roster with only one roster spot available. Joffrey Lauvergne, Axel Toupane, and Jakarr Sampson are currently on non-guaranteed contracts so, unless there is a trade, two of those three players will not make the final roster. Joffrey Lauvergne is probably a lock to get the last roster spot since he provides much needed depth at both the power forward and center position and because he has the most experience and upside with the team.
Juancho will likely begin the season buried behind Kenneth Faried and Darrell Arthur on the depth chart and may also compete for minutes at the power forward slot with Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari. From the outset, it appears as though it will be very difficult for Juancho to find minutes but the same could've been said last year about Nikola Jokic. Injuries in the front court led to spot minutes for Nikola to shine and by January he had earned the starting center spot and altered the direction of the team as he is now viewed as the best or second best prospect on the team. The same is possible for Juancho and at just 20 years old, he is likely to have a very steep learning curve.
Update: According to Hernangomez, who appeared on the Hastings and Helmer show on Altitude radio AM 950 this morning, he has not been told he has an official spot on the roster, stating "If I get a chance to be on the roster I am really happy to go there...but I don't know I'm still waiting, but I'm really happy to go there if I go."
Listen to the full interview below.