The recent injury to Kenneth Faried has opened the door for the ultra talented Juancho Hernangomez to show what he can do.
During the Nuggets’ 117-106 loss to the Hawks in Atlanta on Wednesday, forward Kenneth Faried went down with what looked like a nasty ankle injury.
He was assisted off the floor and into the locker room by teammates and medical staff, and later left the arena on crutches. The eventual diagnosis was better than what some fans feared, with the injury being determined as a right ankle sprain.
Faried has been ruled out of tonight’s matchup against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, and there is currently no timetable for return.
Faried had been playing extremely well in his role next to Nikola Jokic as of late. He averaged 12.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game on 62 percent shooting from the field in the month of January, all of which were up quite significantly on his December averages.
The injury certainly comes as a set back for the Nuggets as they try to tighten their grip on the Western Conferences 8th seed, however, if Nuggets fans are searching for some silver lining, the injury does open the door for Juancho Hernangomez.
Hernangomez was selected with the 14th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft out of Spain. His brother, Willy Hernangomez, currently plays for the Knicks and both brothers are considered to be versatile and athletic forwards who can stretch the floor with their shooting ability.
Because the Nuggets are legitimately two-deep at every position, it has been difficult for Juancho to break into the rotation. In limited minutes, Hernangomez has averaged 3.7 points and 2.8 rebounds while shooting 46 percent overall.
In December, Hernangomez, along with fellow rookie Malik Beasley, was assigned to the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA D-League for one game where he tallied 17 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks in 26 minutes of action.
Arguably, the most impressive aspect of Hernangomez’s rookie campaign has been his ability to knock down the three-point shot at an impressive rate. He is currently shooting a blistering 46 percent from deep. That is an incredible percentage, one that places him amongst the league leaders in three-point percentage. However, due to his limited playing time, he has only recorded 17 made three pointers so far this year.
While Wilson Chandler will most likely get the start in place of the injured Faried, Juancho Hernangomez will be thrust into the rotation behind him. Nuggets fans should be excited to see what the young Spaniard can do with this new-found opportunity.