Do you plan on playing summer league with Denver?
JH: Yeah, I think I’m going to play summer league. I like to compete. They asked me if I was down for it and I really would like to go and play a couple of games, be around the team and keep developing as a player.
Hernangomez is coming off a rookie season where the Spaniard averaged 4.9 points and 3.0 rebounds in 13.6 minutes over 62 games. The 6-foot-9 forward found himself initially buried behind a deep Nuggets’ rotation but injuries and a fluid pecking order in Denver saw Hernangomez shine in spot minutes throughout the year. Hernangomez shot an impressive 40.7 percent from three on nearly two attempts per game during his rookie season.
The 21-year-old has his best outing of the year in a February upset win over the Warriors at Pepsi Center where Hernangomez scored a season-high 27 points to go with ten rebounds in a 132-110 win over Golden State. In that win, which was arguably Denver’s most impressive victory of the season, the Nuggets only dressed nine players and were without Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Emmanuel Mudiay, Darrell Arthur and Kenneth Faried.
Hernangomez’s first NBA offseason is setting up to be a busy one. General manager Tim Connelly said in April that he’s “hopeful” Hernangomez will play for the Spanish National Team at EuroBasket 2017, an international, FIBA-sanctioned tournament that runs from Aug. 31 through Sep. 17. That would come on the heels of Summer League, which is scheduled for July 7-17.
It’s a busy but manageable summer slate for Hernangomez. In Las Vegas, Hernangomez would only likely play in a couple games, as most soon-to-be second-year players with measurable NBA service time typically do.
Nuggets’ big man Nikola Jokic could play for his home nation of Serbia at EuroBasket 2017, but has not yet announced his intentions. Last summer, Jokic helped lead Serbia to a silver medal finish at the Rio Olympics.