Juancho recalls tough times at Boston: "There was no room for me"
The younger of the Hernangómez brothers has made his debut with the Spurs and says he has no regrets about his time with the Celtics: "It wasn't my moment".
Juancho Hernángomez has recently turned over a new page in his adventure in the NBA. The Spanish forward has made his debut with the San Antonio Spurs - his fifth team in the North American league and the fourth in which he has actually played (he never got to suit up at Memphis). For now, his first foray out on court has been brief, he played 1 minute and 43 seconds of the Spurs' 102-117 defeat to the Brooklyn Nets. It's a new start, and one which the 26-year-old hopes will turn out more positively than his last, in Boston.
Dream Boston move turns into a nightmare
Juancho's stint with the Celtics didn't exactly turn out as he would have liked. What seemed like excellent news at the start of the season, joining an historic franchise, one of the biggest teams in the NBA with aspirations to win the East, soon turned into a bad dream. For head coach Ime Udoka, there was no place in his side for Juancho, who posted his lowest figures of his entire time in the US - 18 games, none of them in the starting line-up, with an average of 5.3 minutes on-court. During that, he averaged 1.1 points, 1.4 rebounds and 16.7% on three-pointers. A disaster. But Juancho says he has no bad feelings or regrets about his time with Boston.
“That was a tough time. I think I could have helped the team, I was ready for the opportunity,I was really excited about playing for Boston, but it didn't work out like everyone had thought. But I don't regret it. It is what it is. I tried to help the young players - they have a lot of talent, I tried to be a good team mate there and do everything I could to make it work. It was a great experience. There are a great bunch of guys, with lots of talent, but it just wasn't the right moment for me. There was no room for me,” he explained in an interview with the San Antonio Express News.
Unaware of Spurs deal
He also recalled the bizarre way he found out that he was to be part of a three-team trade deal which would see him join the Spurs: "It's a crazy story. I was at dinner and I didn’t have my phone because somebody stole it after the Philly game (on 14 January),” he said. It wasn't until he returned hom from the restaurant that he heard the news. "My brother (Willy) had tried to reach me. He was like, ‘Oh, good luck on your new team. It’s going to be awesome.’ I told him, ‘What? Where am I going?’ He said San Antonio and I was really happy. It’s a great opportunity for me".
Celtic coach Ime Udoka meanwhile spoke highly of Juancho and explained why he didn't give the Spaniard more playing time during his five months with the The C's: “I love his approach, the work he continued to put in and him being professional in cheering on the guys. His lack of playing time was not for anything he didn’t do. It was more about what Grant (Williams) did early on shooting the ball and some of the defensive things. And, at times, we’ve just gone with small lineups. Hopefully, for him, it’ll be a better situation in San Antonio where he’ll have a better opportunity.””.