Heading into Thursday’s draft, it was doubtful the Denver Nuggets would select three players at seven, 15, and 19 that would be on their roster next season.
Jamal Murray, the No. 7 overall pick will be in Denver next year and will likely be joined by Malik Beasley, the No. 19 pick.
However, Juan Hernangomez, who the Nuggets selected at No. 15 could be headed back to Spain next year to further develop, with the hope of bringing him over to the NBA in a year or two.
Spoke with Denver Nuggets draftee Juan Hernangomez (#15). Told me nothing concrete, but is very open to being stashed for a year in Europe.
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 24, 2016
Stashing Hernangomez makes sense.
He’s just 20-years-old, is already playing for Estudiantes in the ACB League, one of the top league’s in all of Europe, and could use more experience to refine his skill set before coming over to the Nuggets.
Denver’s roster is also nearly full and after free agency runs its course, there might not be room for Hernangomez anyway.
“We’re not sure. Both options are open,” Connelly said regarding the prospects of stashing Hernangomez. “There is a pretty good international situation if we want to marinate [him] a bit overseas. I think certainly, he has the game to come over. If you’re productive at the ACB level it generally translates. It’s a conversation we’ll have with his representatives.”
There is a chance Hernangomez could be at Summer Leauge. He’s a free agent in Europe so his team doesn’t have to sign off on him playing for Denver, and the Nuggets would certainly like to bring him over if possible.
“We’ll talk to his agent,” Connelly said. “He shares an agent with Jusuf Nurkic and his agent internationally is Igor Crespo, two guys I’m very friendly with, good guys. We’ll sit down and figure out what’s best both for Juancho and the organization.”
“I’d like them all [at Summer League]” Connelly continued. “We have to see what’s best for him and us. I’m sure we’ll have that answer next week.”
Whether Hernangomez stays in Europe or is in Denver next season, the Nuggets remain extremely high on the prospect they selected in the middle of the first round.
“We liked his pedigree. I think his work ethic stands out,” Connelly said. “He’s a very difficult guy to find right now, those 6-9, 6-10 guys who can defend stretch-4’s and switch off a 4/3 pick and roll, can make a shot, rebound. He’s not a ball dominant guy. I think we have a bunch of playmakers, we need some finishers, guys that can make quick decisions.”