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Stat of the Week: Juancho Hernangomez is playing well for the Spanish National team

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The young Nuggets forward is providing even more reason for excitement while playing for Spain during EuroBasket.

Denver Nuggets v Oklahoma City Thunder Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images

Stat of the Week: Juancho Hernangomez at EuroBasket

Juancho Hernangomez played a few games during Las Vegas Summer League this year, but most of his offseason has been spent preparing for EuroBasket, a heavily contested European event with an Olympic atmosphere. Juancho is playing for Spain, along with his brother, Willy, and other NBA players: Pau and Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio, Sergio Rodriguez, and Alex Abrines. The Spanish team is plush with talent, and it shows how much each of those guys care about representing their teams.

So far, Hernangomez has been very productive during the first five games of group play. Here are his per game averages:

Minutes Points Rebounds Steals Blocks 2-point FG% 3-point FG% Free Throw %
21.1 11.0 7.0 0.6 1.2 48.3 30.8 78.9

21.1 minutes per game is a really important number here, as it ranks third among all Spanish players behind both Gasol brothers. He’s coming off the bench, but he has earned consistent minutes with his all-around play. He has been productive as a scorer, ranking second among points per game in a variety of ways. Mostly though, he has been an offensive rebounding ace, coming in from the wing to make plays on the glass like this one.

The shooting efficiency from the perimeter isn’t there yet, and Juancho’s coordination around the rim is still a point of weakness. Still, his size, strength, and agility on the wing have earned him easy opportunities to score in a complementary role on the National team.

To put these numbers in perspective, here are his per 36 numbers during last season with the Nuggets compared to per 36 numbers with the National team:

Team Points per 36 Rebounds per 36 Steals per 36 Blocks per 36
Nuggets (2016-17) 13.0 8.0 1.3 0.5
Spain (2017) 18.8 11.9 1.0 2.0

Just look at that difference? He’s simply more involved everywhere. Imagine if Hernangomez was hitting from the perimeter with accuracy Nuggets fans have come to know and love?

After hitting 46/113 of his 3-point attempts last season (40.7%), the Spanish forward has set the bar high for the next season. With the addition of Paul Millsap, along with added competition from Trey Lyles and Tyler Lydon, the Nuggets have made things difficult for the 15th overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft. Still, there aren’t many forwards who can get out in transition and dunk like Juancho does below while maintaining a 50.4% 3-point attempt rate.

It will be really interesting to see what Hernangomez does during the rest of the tournament. The Spanish team easily outmatched their opponents during group play, but as they find themselves in the tournament bracket, Juancho must continue to earn his minutes. Nobody on the Spanish roster has averaged more than 22 minutes per game so far, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the Gasol brothers, Rubio, and other veterans began playing heavier minutes. Juancho isn’t even 22 years old yet, and this is his first taste if Spanish National team action.

Still, it’s been good to see Juancho playing well, and it will be interesting to see what he takes from his National team experience to bring back to the Nuggets in the fall.