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NBA Saturday: Juan Hernangomez Impresses in Workouts

Juan Hernangomez is showing off his intriguing skill set in recent pre-draft workouts.

Jesse Blancarte



This year’s NBA draft class has been difficult to project with a shortage of elite top-end talent, a glut of promising mid-tier players and a few intriguing international prospects. As we move closer to draft night, players are going through workouts with teams and moving up and down the draft boards.

One player who has moved his way up some boards with his recent workouts is 20-year-old Juan Hernangomez. The 6’9, 220-pound forward, who most recently played with Estudiantes in Spain, showed off a nice shooting touch and surprising explosiveness at a recent workout in front of 23 NBA teams at the Relativity Sports Pro Day held at the IMG Academy in Florida.

Basketball Insiders managing editor and publisher Steve Kyler was on the scene and came away impressed with Hernangomez. This is what he had to say about the young prospect in Basketball Insiders’ most recent Consensus Mock Draft:

“The biggest surprise was Juan Hernangomez. While he did not play against anyone, he did put his skills on display and he was impressive. His range all the way around the NBA three-point line was stellar. His aggressiveness around the basket in pad-contact drills was excellent. In talking with his agents, Hernangomez does not have a buyout in his contract so he’s free to come to a NBA team right away if that’s the best plan. Hernangomez also said he’d be fine staying in Europe another year or two if that’s the best plan. His skill and flexible attitude may make him hard to pass up in a fairly flat draft class. He has also been listed in various places as a small forward, which is not at all accurate. He’ll be a power forward in the NBA.”

Hernangomez spoke with Basketball Insiders after his workout and discussed what it’s like to work out for NBA teams and different aspects of his developing game among other things.

“Well, this is my first time to be here, so I’m really surprised. I feel really amazing,” Hernangomez said when asked about working out in front of 23 NBA teams. “So the first time [I didn’t want to be nervous] so [I could do] do everything that I do well.”

Hernangomez’s main draw is his size and ability to shoot the long ball, which is so important in today’s NBA. He has solid mechanics on his jumper and has all the tools to be a deadly stretch-four in the NBA. In addition, he has experience playing high-level European basketball, which should have him relatively well prepared to jump to the NBA.

In 34 games played with Estudiantes this season, Hernangomez averaged 9.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 45.5 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from three-point range. Now Hernangomez is getting a chance to show off his developing game in controlled workouts. Unsurprisingly, his shooting was one of the most impressive parts of his game on display during the workout.

“No, no,” Hernangomez said when asked if he expected to shoot as well as he did. “I wanted to be focused on [each individual shot] so at the end I would do really great.”

While Hernangomez has solid length and a frame that should fill out moving forward, it’s not clear how well he can handle going up against NBA-caliber big men. He has shown in the past that he doesn’t mind fighting for rebounds and finishing through contact, but it’s hard to see him holding his own in the post against someone like LaMarcus Aldridge or Blake Griffin.

Fortunately for Hernangomez, he showed off a surprising affinity for absorbing contact and fighting through it in his workout.

“Yeah, I love the contact,” Hernangomez said. “It’s a different kind of play [between] Europe and USA, so I want to practice for a long time. I want to do it with a lot of energy and that’s it.”

If Hernangomez is able to match up physically with NBA big men sooner than expected, that would certainly make him one of the more intriguing players in this year’s draft class. In his time with Estudiantes, Hernangomez has shown that he has a fluid game and that he can take the ball off the dribble, in addition to his notable shooting stroke. Teams are well aware of these attributes, but are still trying to figure out what kind of player Hernangomez can be in a few years once he puts on some more muscle and is more physically developed.

While Hernangomez isn’t going to throw down highlight worthy dunks like DeAndre Jordan, he did display some notable explosiveness in his recent workout.

“Yeah, I want to prove every area, that I got it,” Hernangomez said when asked about his athleticism. “I want to be the most [complete] player that I can [be], so that’s the way. Improve everything and work so hard.”

While there is a lot to already like about Hernangomez, it is possible that a team could draft him with the intent of stashing him overseas for another year or two. While Hernangomez does not have a buyout clause (meaning he can come to the NBA immediately), he still has not decided whether he will jump to the NBA this upcoming season.

“No, I only want to enjoy this practice and enjoy the draft,” Hernangomez said when asked if he had decided whether he would come to the NBA next season. “I don’t know what position [I’ll be selected at], so it depends on the draft. Until the draft, [once I’m chosen], I’ll then have to [then] make a decision with my family, with my agent, with everybody.”

Whether Hernangomez comes to the NBA next season or at some point in the future, it’s clear that he has the potential to be a valuable addition for any team. Big men who can stretch the floor, take the ball of the dribble and rebound are considered valuable assets and Hernangomez has already proven that he is capable of doing all of those thing. The big question is determining what else he will be able to do in a few seasons. If his recent workouts are any indication, the future looks pretty bright for Hernangomez.


Jesse Blancarte is a Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders. He is also an Attorney and a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.


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NBA Daily: The Road Ahead for Michael Porter Jr.

Michael Porter Jr. is an elite prospect, but questions surrounding his back will determine his landing spot in the NBA.

Steve Kyler



The Road Ahead for Michael Porter Jr.

While some of the highly thought of college players have made their intentions on declaring for the 2018 NBA Draft known, Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr still hasn’t made his proclamation. Most people in NBA circles believe he’ll be in the 2018 NBA Draft class—you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t think he’s in.

Back in November, the Missouri staff was somewhat vague and guarded about Porter’s condition until it was announced that he’d have back surgery on a couple of problematic discs in the lumbar area of his spine. The procedure is called a microdiscectomy and by all accounts was a success.

Porter missed virtually all of his college season but opted to play in the post-season for Missouri, who got eliminated fairly quickly.

There were certainly a lot of ugly things about Porter’s game. He looked out of shape, and certainly wasn’t the overwhelming dominating force he’d been in high school. Some executives applauded his decision to play, even though he wasn’t at a 100 percent. Some pointed to that fact that too many college players play it safe and that’s not always viewed positively. Almost no one Basketball Insiders spoke with was holding the less than stellar outing against him. In fact, most had far more positive things to say than negative. There was one resounding theme from the NBA executives who spoke about this situation—none of it matters until they see his medical.

Assuming Porter does as expected and hires an agent and enters the draft, the next challenge he’ll face is how open he wants to be to teams looking at drafting him.

In recent years, NBA teams have not shied away from using high draft picks on injured or recently injured players. Once a team can get a sense of how the player is recovering, they can make a value judgment.

Agents often use this information and access to the player to help steer their client to the situation they deem most favorable. While fans and outsiders often get caught up in the pick number a player ultimately lands at, more and more agents are concerned with fit, especially for a player that may need time to get back to 100 percent.

Most agents would want to steer their client to a team with favorable medical staff, a team with a proven track record of patience or more importantly, a team with the best chance at a long and fruitful career.

This won’t be good news for some team that could end up in the top 10, as it’s more likely that Porter isn’t made available to everyone. NBA executives will tell you, they can certainly draft him if they wanted to, but most teams won’t draft a player if their medical staff doesn’t sign off, and without information and access how can they do that?

There is a significant financial difference in going third in the draft ($5.47 million) and 10th ($2.964 million) – but several agents commented that the short-term money shouldn’t drive the long-term decision, especially if the player isn’t 100 percent. The fit and situation typically trump everything in these situations.

Another concept to consider is while Porter did play, there are questions about whether he’ll host a pro-day, take part in private team workouts or simply let his body of work drive his draft value.

Almost no one who spoke about this situation believed Porter would take part in the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, as he’d have to subject himself to the medical testing that’s part of that event.

The common perception on Porter is he’s a top-five talent, although it seems more likely that his camp is going to try and work the process to ensure he lands in a favorable situation. That could mean he falls out of top-five selections, simply because he and his agents choose to.

There is still a lot that needs to play out for Porter, including his announcement that he will enter the draft. But given where things stand with him, it’s more likely than not he’s coming into the draft, and it’s more likely than not he’ll have a lot of questions NBA teams will want to understand before his real draft position is clear.

The NBA Draft Lottery will be held in Chicago this year and is scheduled for May 15th. The annual Draft Combine, also in Chicago, gets underway on May 16th.

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @TommyBeer, @MokeHamilton , @jblancartenba, @Ben_Dowsett, @SpinDavies, @BuddyGrizzard, @JamesB_NBA, @DennisChambers_, and @Ben__Nadeau .

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Mock Drafts

NBA Daily: 2018 NBA Mock Draft – 3/20/18

With most of the major NBA draft prospects eliminated from March Madness, things in the mock draft world are starting to get interesting.

Steve Kyler



A Lot of Mock Movement

With the race to the bottom in full swing in the NBA and the field of 64 in college basketball whittled down to a very sweet sixteen, there has been considerable talk in NBA circles about the impending 2018 NBA Draft class. There seems to be a more consistent view of the top 15 to 20 prospects, but there still seems to be a lack of a firm pecking order. Arizona’s Deandre Ayton seems like to the prohibitive favorite to go number one overall, but its far from a lock.

It’s important to note that these weekly Mock Draft will start to take on more of a “team driven” shape as we get closer to the mid-May NBA Combine in Chicago and more importantly once the draft order gets set. Until then, we’ll continue to drop our views of the draft class each Tuesday, until we reach May when we’ll drop the weekly Consensus Mock drafts, giving you four different views of the draft all the way to the final decisions in late June.

Here is this week’s Mock Draft:

Here are some of the pick swaps and how they landed where they are currently projected:

The Cleveland Cavaliers are owed the Brooklyn Nets’ first-round pick as a result of the Kyrie Irving trade this past summer. The Brooklyn Nets traded several unprotected picks to Boston as part of the Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce trades in 2015.

The Philadelphia 76ers are owed the LA Lakers’ 2018 Draft pick, unprotected, as a result of the 2012 Steve Nash trade with the Suns. The Suns traded that pick to the 76ers as part of the Michael Carter-Williams three-team trade with the Milwaukee in 2015. The 76ers traded that pick to the Boston Celtics as part of the draft pick trade that became Markelle Fultz before the draft; it has 2 through 5 protections and based on the standings today would convey to Philadelphia.

The LA Clippers are owed the Detroit Pistons first-round pick in 2018 as a result of the Blake Griffin trade. The pick is top four protected and based on the current standings would convey.

The Phoenix Suns are owed the Milwaukee Bucks’ first-round pick as part of the Eric Bledsoe trade. The pick only conveys if the Bucks pick lands between the 11th and 16th pick, which based on the standings today would convey.

The Phoenix Suns are owed the Miami HEAT’s first-round pick as part of the Goran Dragic trade in 2015, it is top-seven protected and would convey to Phoenix based on the current standings.

The Atlanta Hawks are owed the Minnesota Timberwolves’ first-round pick as part of the Adreian Payne trade in 2015. The pick is lottery protected and based on the current standings would convey.

The Chicago Bulls are owed the New Orleans Pelicans first-round pick as a result of the Nikola Mirotic trade. The pick is top-five protected and based on the current standings would convey.

The LA Lakers are owed the Cleveland Cavaliers first-round pick as a result of Jordan Clarkson/Larry Nance Jr. trade. The pick is top-three protected and based on the current standings would convey.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are owed the Oklahoma City Thunder’s first-round pick as part of the Jazz/Wolves Ricky Rubio trade this past summer. The Jazz acquired the pick as part of the Thunder’s deal to obtain Enes Kanter in 2015. The pick is lottery protected and based on the current standings would convey.

The Brooklyn Nets are owed the Toronto Raptors’ first-round pick as part of the DeMarre Carroll salary dump trade this past summer. The pick is lottery protected and based on the current standings would convey.

The Atlanta Hawks are owed the Houston Rockets’ first-round pick as part of a three-team deal with the LA Clippers and Denver Nuggets involving Danilo Gallinari and taking back Jamal Crawford and Diamond Stone. The pick is top-three protected and based on the current standings would convey.

Check out the Basketball Insiders’ Top 100 NBA Draft Prospects –

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @TommyBeer, @MokeHamilton , @jblancartenba, @Ben_Dowsett, @SpinDavies, @BuddyGrizzard, @JamesB_NBA, @DennisChambers_, and @Ben__Nadeau .

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NBA Daily: The Draft Is More Than One Thing

Eveluating an NBA Draft prospect is more than just one thing, and getting caught up on just a player’s college career is often a mistake.

Steve Kyler



It’s Not Just One Thing

With the main part of the NCAA Tournament getting underway today, there will be a lot of focus on the top players in college and how they may translate to the NBA. The challenge NBA teams face in evaluating talent is not only to avoid the hype that comes with tournament success but also to peel back what a player does for his team versus what the player may be capable of in a different environment.

The NBA Draft’s history is littered with NBA misses on NCAA tournament darlings as well as overlooking talent based on a bad read of a player based on how he may have played in college.

No one is suggesting that how a player plays in college is not important, but there is no question that players can and do evolve once they advance in age and their career. Equally, the player with obvious defects in their game often improves once they get into 24/7 professional life and have the resource to train smarter and more intensely.

There are hundreds of examples both ways.

Indiana’s Victor Oladipo was labeled as a bad shooter. As Oladipo closes his fifth NBA season, he’s seen his shooting percentages increase every year to a very respectable 36.9 percent three-point average and 80.4 percent from the foul line.

Miami’s Edrice “Bam” Adebayo wasn’t highly thought of offensively coming into the NBA Draft and has demonstrated in the NBA a much wider skill set than anyone expected. Adebayo was on a stacked Kentucky team and wasn’t a primary focal point, so judging him solely on how he played at Kentucky would have been a mistake.

Adebayo’s Miami teammate Justise Winslow was often considered one of the top players in the 2015 NBA Draft; many expected him to go in the top five. He was a college darling and has yet to make a meaningful impact in Miami, mostly due to constant injuries but also that his college skill set hasn’t translated as many had expected.

Orlando’s Aaron Gordon was an elite college defender in his lone season in Arizona. So far, through four NBA seasons, Gordon has shown flashes of that defensive presence but has yet to crack the top 100 in defensive rating in any of his NBA seasons. Does being an elite player in college translate? Very rarely.

A glance at the Naismith Awards winners over the last 20 years shows how infrequently in the last decade the elite in college become elite in the NBA.

Naismith Award Winners

2017 Frank Mason III 2007 Kevin Durant
2016 Buddy Hield 2006 J. J. Redick
2015 Frank Kaminsky 2005 Andrew Bogut
2014 Doug McDermott 2004 Jameer Nelson
2013 Trey Burke 2003 T. J. Ford
2012 Anthony Davis 2002 Jason Williams
2011 Jimmer Fredette 2001 Shane Battier
2010 Evan Turner 2000 Kenyon Martin
2009 Blake Griffin 1999 Elton Brand
2008 Tyler Hansbrough 1998 Antawn Jamison

Again, no one is suggesting that college performance doesn’t matter, its simply no longer the best measure of a player’s potential or ability in the NBA for a number of factors.

The situation is often the biggest factor in success at any level. It is not uncommon in college basketball for a player to play out of position or in a role that isn’t always ideal for their skill set. Equally, in college, some players are asked to do more than they’d be asked to do in the NBA, which can also skew the results.

There is no doubt that some things translate more easily than others – rebounding, shot blocking and free throw shooting. However, historically, even some of the best college players have struggled in the NBA.

Judging a player based solely and exclusively on what you see in college has historically been a mistake on both sides. Draft history is littered with NBA All-Stars and MVP candidates falling in the draft process, while the number of top 10 picks that were elite in college that have washed out is extremely high.

There is no question the more you can see a player, the more you can learn, but there is a balance to the process and something to consider when you see a player erupt on the big stage this week.

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @TommyBeer, @MokeHamilton , @jblancartenba, @Ben_Dowsett, @SpinDavies, @BuddyGrizzard, @JamesB_NBA, @DennisChambers_, and @Ben__Nadeau .

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