Minnesota Timberwolves Draft Rewind: Profiling current role players

Kelan Martin, Malik Beasley, James Johnson and Josh Okogie of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Justin Tafoya/Getty Images)
Kelan Martin, Malik Beasley, James Johnson and Josh Okogie of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Justin Tafoya/Getty Images) /
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Juan Hernangomez

Minnesota Timberwolves, Juan Hernangomez
NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 23: Juan Hernangomez poses with Commissioner Adam Silver after being drafted 15th overall by the Denver Nuggets. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Drafted: 2016, No. 15 Overall

NBA Comparison: Victor Claver, Jonas Jerebko

NBA Outlook Analysis

Juan Hernangomez is the only Timberwolf who did not play collegiately, instead of playing in his home country of Spain.

While playing overseas he has evolved his game that suits the modern style of play. As a power forward, he is able to switch in the pick-and-roll, along with being able to hit from distance on the offensive end.

Juancho’s game profiled as a fit for many teams in the NBA. Heading into the draft, plenty of evaluators noted his activity on the offensive end of the floor. Instead of standing still on the perimeter, Hernangomez was often cutting and moving to get open for a pass.

Defensively, Hernangomez competed as a prospect but was often too aggressive in trying to rack up steals instead of playing solid defense.

Hernangomez & Claver/Jerebko Comparison

Juan Hernangomez, Victor Claver, and Jonas Jerebko all came into their respective drafts as European forwards with range but were limited athletically.

Hernangomez is currently playing in his fourth season, spending the first three-plus seasons in Denver buried on their deep frontcourt depth chart before being traded to the Wolves. So far in his career, Juancho has averaged 5.3 points and 3.4 rebounds while shooting 35.9 percent from the 3-point line.

Claver was drafted No. 22 overall in 2009 by the Trail Blazers before being waived 10 games into his third season. He averaged 3.2 points and 2.2 rebounds on just 39.8 percent from the field. He is currently playing in Spain for FC Barcelona.

Jerebko played nine seasons in the NBA after being selected No. 39 overall by the Detroit Pistons in 2009. Through his first four seasons Jerebko put up averages of 7.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 0.7 steals, shooting 47 percent from the field.

Evaluation of Player Comparison

The Trail Blazers had high hopes when they drafted Victor Claver. He had a disappointing NBA career, however, after only playing 80 games total, starting 16 in his rookie season.

Jerebko’s best NBA season was his rookie year as he started 73 games and played just under 28 minutes per game. Jerebko earned NBA All-Rookie second team and was a nice bench piece for playoff teams in Boston, Utah, and Golden State. He was able to meet his rookie-season statistics for the rest of his career, though, as he never averaged more than 16.7 minutes after his third season.

Hernangomez had struggled to get on the floor during his time playing for the Nuggets, never getting more than 20 minutes per game in a season. In his first 14 games with the Wolves, though, he is averaging just under 30 minutes, posting career highs in points, rebounds, steals, field goal percentage, and 3-point percentage.

Jerebko has had the most proficient career to date as he made it 10 seasons in the NBA as a good complimentary piece. However, he regressed rather significantly after his rookie season. Juancho, on the other hand, has shown improvement throughout his career and looks to keep improving.

Hernangomez has clearly passed Claver as an NBA player but still needs time before he is able to catch Jerebko. Given that Hernangomez has finally found an opportunity to get on the court and prove himself, he looks like he is well on his way to eventually reach Jerebko and pass him as long as he can stay healthy.