Wolves look-ahead profile: Juan Hernangomez
With the announcement of the NBA’s 22-team plan to close out the rest of the season, the Minnesota Timberwolves are now in offseason mode. The franchise will have to make plenty of tough decisions in the coming months, including an array of personnel moves.
As Gersson Rosas and Ryan Saunders navigate the NBA offseason, FOX Sports North will analyze each player on the Timberwolves and how they might fit in with the team in the future.
This edition: Juan Hernangomez
A first-round pick by Denver in 2015, Hernangomez never carved out a full-time starting role with the Nuggets, although he thrived when he got the chance. Over his first two seasons, Hernangomez averaged 4.4 points in 12.9 minutes per contest. But in 2018-19, he filled in as the starter at power forward for 25 games and registered 11.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per contest while knocking down 42.5% of 3-point attempts. When the Nuggets got healthy again, however, he was back to the bench. Hernangomez made his way to Minnesota as part of the monster four-team, 12-player trade at the 2019-20 deadline. He’ll be a restricted free agent this offseason but is expected to be a part of the roster moving forward.
Hernangomez saw his role in Denver decrease from 19.4 minutes per game in 2018-19 to 12.4 this past season. He played 20+ minutes in just six of 34 contests. But he finally got his chance after the trade to the Timberwolves. Looking like a natural fit in head coach Ryan Saunders’ offensive system, Hernangomez scored in double figures in 10 of 14 contests and nailed multiple 3s in nine games
(with Minnesota; 14 games)
GAME TO REMEMBER
Hernangomez’s final performance before the season was shut down was also his finest. In a clash with Houston on March 10, he scored 18 points on 6 of 11 attempts from the field, tied a career-best with four 3-pointers and added 10 rebounds for his ninth career double-double. This is the type of player the Timberwolves hope Hernangomez will prove to be.
— FOX Sports North (@fsnorth) February 29, 2020
WHAT TO EXPECT NEXT SEASON
Hernangomez likely won’t get an expensive deal like Malik Beasley, but he’s a piece that complements Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell as a rebounder and shot-maker. He’s better when given consistent minutes, shown by his 32.5% 3-point clip as a reserve (154 games) and 39.6% mark as a starter (51 games). Hernangomez should see his biggest opportunity of his four-year NBA career with the Wolves next season.