LAS VEGAS — As the Denver Nuggets approached the start of their first game in Las Vegas for Summer League there was a strange sight. Juan Hernangomez, who is already a goofy personality, was wearing Horace Grant-style goggles.

Hernangomez recently had a Lasik procedure on his left eye to repair his vision after getting scratched. He is still recovering and had no choice but to play with the goggles on.

“I got scratched. Got a finger in my eye and a cut it a little bit so I got Lasik surgery,” Hernangomez explained. “I have been trying to get through recovery so I recently got the goggles.”

Hernangomez may pull off the goggles in a fashion sense but that is as far as the positivity goes if you ask him. He had nothing but terrible reviews of his new eyewear and was attempting to wear them as little as possible. It was beyond obvious that he was frustrated for the entirety of the game.

“So far the goggles are not so good,” Hernangomez said after the Nuggets 99-102 loss to the Houston Rockets on Friday night.

Hernangomez then elaborated further and really made his feelings about the goggles known.

“Oh my god,” Hernangomez explained. “They are so bad.”

Hernangomez disliked shooting with his goggles so much that he would take them off when he would attempt free throws and would be seen consistently messing with them trying to get comfortable. He was complaining about the accumulation of sweat and said that it bothered his shooting. Hernangomez finished the game shooting 4-10 from three and 6-15 from the field.

Overall, Hernangomez finished the first game of the Nuggets 2017 Summer League with 21 points on 40 percent from the field, eight rebounds, two assists, and a whopping seven turnovers. Hernangomez knows he needs to play better and refuses to use the goggles as a reason for his struggles.

“I don’t like to make excuses,” Hernangomez told media after the game.

Hernangomez has been asked to be the swiss-army knife of the Nuggets Summer League roster and is currently being evaluated largely for his performance as a small forward with the recent departure of Danilo Gallinari to the Los Angeles Clippers. He needs to be able to get comfortable and begin trying to impact the game in more ways than just launching threes and driving into multiple defenders.

Hopefully, Hernangomez can bounce back in a big way. Denver needs him to show that he can play a more perimeter-oriented role, so as to ease their concerns about depth at the small forward position, and, so far, Hernangomez has not been able to deliver.

He has the tools and physical ability to play either forward position but so far it seems that the goggles have been how downfall. The Nuggets Summer League team practiced Saturday morning and Hernangomez says he is ready for the challenge of being a focal point of the team and to overcome the frustration the goggles have added to his development.

“I need to practice with my goggles,” Hernangomez said. “I am going to be the best shooter with one eye in the NBA.”

T.J. McBride

T.J. is originally from California and made his way to Colorado in 2009. He now lives in downtown Denver and is beginning his first season as a credentialed Nuggets beat writer for BSN Denver. Lover of craft beer, Hip Hop, and all things Denver Nuggets. You can follow him at @BSN_McBride on Twitter.

  • Malone Rules

    It sounds silly, but I think the NBA should take seriously about checking the length and sharpness of the player’s fingernails to make sure they are clipped properly before each game. How many games last year did we see Jokic have a long noticeable cut/abrasion on his arm or shoulder from what looks like a big nail scratch? Many. That could of easily happened to his eye, as well. Some players keep their nails longer (because it is their fashion trend) and some players intentionally scratch other players as a competitive tactic. Again, it sounds stupid, but it is true.