NBA

From Movie Star to the Toronto Raptors: Juancho Hernangomez Trade

The Toronto Raptors picked up not only a new player in the Juancho Hernangomez Trade but also a movie star who starred alongside Adam Sandler in a recently released film called “Hustle.”

Hustle’s Plot

Hernangomez took on the role of Bo Cruz, who was a kid from Spain who used to hustle random people on the court for their money by destroying them in a game of basketball.

Sandler, who took on the role of Stanley Sugerman, who was a scout within the Philadelphia 76ers organization, discovered him on a trip out to Spain and convinced him to come to America so he can expose himself to NBA scouts.

Cruz had a lot of ups and downs throughout that process, as he wasn’t conditioned well enough to impress scouts and went through a period of homesickness, but with the work of Sugarman, Cruz was able to improve immensely enough to draw interest from scouts across the league.

Cruz started to flash a lot of the potential that makes wing players such a hot commodity in today’s NBA. He can put the ball on the floor, shoot, be a playmaker and play some solid defense out on the perimeter.

Hernangomez’s Real Life

In real life, though, Hernangomez is more or less relegated to a role off the bench who could draw an occasional start here and there when injuries occur.

He has established himself as a very solid 3-point shooter, which helps stretch the floor for other players to either get good looks inside the paint or get 3-point shooting opportunities themselves.

The Raptors are a team that’s looking to compete now, as they hope to build around:

  • Scottie Barnes
  • Pascal Siakam
  • Fred VanVleet
  • OG Anunoby
  • Gary Trent Jr.

Adding Hernangomez to that mix would really help stagger their rotations and keep the offense moving in the right direction.

Last Seasons for Juancho

Hernangomez played for three teams last season, but it was with the Utah Jazz he had the most success, as he averaged over six points per game on nearly 51 percent shooting, including about 44 percent shooting from three in 17 games with them.

If Hernangomez is put into the right situation, just like Cruz, he can thrive and be a star in his role. 

Raptors Outlook

The Raptors got themselves back to the playoffs last season after a one-year hiatus away from them since 2014, as the core is developing faster than many expected.

The Raptors were looking to get in on the Kevin Durant sweepstakes, but they were just not willing to give up Barnes under any circumstances, so the Brooklyn Nets have decided to end talks unless the Raptors have a change of heart.

Raptors’ Drastic Moves

For now, it’s highly unlikely the Raptors are going to be making any drastic moves, but there is a lot of promise on their roster as things currently stand.

They have an abundance of wing players who are very versatile on both ends of the floor, which will help them win ball games.

Barnes showed signs of being a confident three-level scorer in the NBA in just his rookie season, so with that experience under his belt, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him take things to the next level.

Siakam remains one of the most underrated players in the game with his ability to score the basketball in the paint, mid-range, and three, but also using his on-court awareness to set up playmaking opportunities for his teammates.

VanVleet may be a little undersized, but he can shoot the lights out and beat his defenders off the dribble on drives to the rim and also set his teammates up for great looks as well.

Raptors Expectations

The Raptors should be feeling pretty, pretty good about their chances to potentially win a playoff in the strong Eastern Conference, or at least give some of those teams a run for their money in NBA matchups.

It remains to be seen what type of role Hernangomez will play in his new home, but his 3-point shooting abilities as a big man in this league should at least help him carve out some minutes here and there and help his new team win some ball games.

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