Juancho Hernangómez may have just earned himself a leg up on the competition when training camp rolls around for the Toronto Raptors later this month.
The 26-year-old Spaniard put on a show for his national team Sunday evening, dropping 27 points while connecting on seven of nine three-pointers to lift Sergio Scariolo’s Spanish team to its fourth FIBA continental title.
It was Hernangómez’s three-point shooting that should be so eyebrow-raising for the Raptors who could certainly use a little more floor spacing this year. The 6-foot-9 forward opened his evening with a pick-and-pop three from above the break. He then sidestepped a defender, took one dribble, and nailed his second three-pointer from the top of the arc. He followed up his first two threes with four straight catch-and-shoot buckets, including a fallaway three-pointer to end the first half.
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Even with the incredible outing, Hernangómez is no lock to make Toronto’s roster this season. His fully-guaranteed contract suggests he has a slight edge, but he’ll have to duke it out with DJ Wilson, Josh Jackson, and Gabe Brown presumably for one roster spot.
Ultimately, the decision will likely come down to what the Raptors are looking for in their 15th man. Last season the organization went with upside, keeping Isaac Bonga over Sam Dekker and Ishmail Wainright. If that’s the case this season, Josh Jackson is the likely choice. If things change, though, and Toronto wants a steady hand and a little more size, Hernangómez showed Sunday that he’s fully capable of bringing some extra firepower off the bench.
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