By Johnny Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The earlier chunk of the 2022-23 NBA Regular Season produced multiple DNPs, but Juancho Hernangomez bounced back in style and made his way to the starting unit of the Toronto Raptors.
Hernangomez, 27, penned a one-year contract with the lone Canadian franchise of the NBA. He followed in the footsteps of previous links between Spain and the Raptors, Marc Gasol, Sergio Scariolo, and Jose Calderon. However, he did not immediately enter the rotation of head coach Nick Nurse. Injuries across the squad held him gain a regular role.
“It is frustrating,” he admitted in a recent discussion with reporters in Toronto, “But every team got 18 players. In the game, 9-10 players actually play. You got to stay ready and keep working on the game. You never know when the opportunity comes.”
Finally getting the chance to help his side, he averaged 22.2 minutes per contest over the last five games. Over the previous 12 fixtures, he was limited to five much briefer showings.
“It’s not the first time I have been in this situation,” Hernangomez recalled struggles to get steady minutes earlier in his NBA career, “In the NBA, every year many players exit and others come in. Those that keep working hard, keep believing in themselves and keep being ready when the chances come, are the players who stay. It is a hard business.”
After opting to join the Raptors as an unrestricted free agent, he emerged as a leading member of new-look Spain working its way to the gold medals in the 2022 EuroBasket. He averaged 12.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per contest, highlighted by 27 points and 7/9 three-pointers in the final against France.
Also a big part of the last offseason, Hernangomez starred as the fictional basketball player from Spain, Bo Cruz, in the American film Hustle released by Netflix in June.
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