Minnesota Timberwolves: Evaluating Juancho Hernangomez’s first 11 games

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - FEBRUARY 08: Juan Hernangomez #41 of the Minnesota Timberwolves shoots a three-point basket. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - FEBRUARY 08: Juan Hernangomez #41 of the Minnesota Timberwolves shoots a three-point basket. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

New acquisition Juancho Hernangomez has been a fantastic fit with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the small sample size of 11 games.

The Minnesota Timberwolves acquired Juan Hernangomez from the Denver Nuggets in part of a four-team deal at the NBA Trade Deadline. Since the team has added him to the roster, he has played in 11 games and has looked like a good long-term fit.

Much like Malik Beasley, another player the Wolves were able to acquire in a deal from the Nuggets, Hernangomez was at the back end of a deep roster. There wasn’t much room for him to blossom and play, which resulted in him not reaching his full potential.

Hernangomez was the 15th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft and has been waiting for this kind of opportunity. He played about three and a half seasons with Denver, logging 191 games and starting in 37 of those. During the 2017-18 season, he played in just 25 games.

In those 191 games, 19.4 minutes per game was the most he averaged, coming during the 2018-19 season.

Per Game Table
4 seasonsDEN1913715.
1 seasonMIN111129.54.710.1.4682.24.8.4532.23.6.6006.

Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/4/2020.

It’s a small sample size, but since he has received more playing time and has a larger role with the Timberwolves, Hernangomez has excelled. Through 11 games, he’s averaging 13.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.

The Timberwolves have been looking for more 3-point shooting and big men to stretch the floor and he has fit that mold. He’s attempting 4.8 3’s per game and has been making 45.3 percent of those.

The ability to shoot the ball from distance has always been there but it hasn’t been on full display like it has been with Minnesota.

He’s scored in double figures in nine of his 11 appearances in a Wolves uniform. In his return to Denver on Feb. 23, he struggled, going 2-for-9 and scoring just seven points. In the following game in Dallas, he shot the ball better, shooting 40.0 percent, but only had eight points.

After struggling for two games, he bounced back in a major way and played a large role in the Timberwolves upsetting the Miami Heat. In that game he shot 7-for-11 from the field and 3-of-5 from 3. He scored 17 points and added five rebounds in that game.

Despite losing next time out against the Orlando Magic, Hernangomez arguably had his best game in a Timberwolves jersey. It was a complete game, scoring 18 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block.

When Karl-Anthony Towns returns from his injury, the two of them should pair well together as they both can stretch the floor, which will be hard for teams to stop, especially with D’Angelo Russell and Beasley on the floor.

The two games that Hernangomez and Towns shared the floor together was against the Los Angeles Clippers and the Toronto Raptors. Both players in those games played well, as they scored and shot the ball efficiently.

It’s only two games but it will be an interesting pairing in the future when Towns is able to come back.

After just 11 games with the Timberwolves, it’s easy to see that he’s a good long-term fit with the team. Heading into the offseason, the Spaniard will be a restricted free agent and should be easy to re-sign with the Wolves.

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Even though he is playing at a higher level, the sample size isn’t going to be large enough for him to command a ton of money. Minnesota will surely try and re-sign him because of a combination of his recent performance at a high level and his potential fit in the starting lineup moving forward.