by Reylan A. Loberternos
I've been reading quite a few negative comments from Spurs fans when news broke about the team's part in a three-way deal that sent Brynn Forbes to Denver in exchange for Juancho Hernangomez and a 2028 2nd round pick. It is understandable, especially noting that Juancho isn't really your typical household name and has been playing limited minutes for a non-popular team most of his career.
Let us first discuss the player we're getting in return. At 6'9", Juancho can play both forward positions. He has a sweet shooting stroke, quick release, and range beyond the arc. He is also active on the defensive end, making great use of his long wingspan to disrupt plays. He moves well without the ball, very much like Keta Bates-Diop. A 5-year NBA veteran, Juancho is just 26 years old.
His best performance was in 2019-2020 season immediately after he was traded from Denver to Minnesota, where he averaged 12.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.0 steals in just under 30 minutes of court time per game. He shot 45.3% from the field, including a 42.0% clip from the rainbow territory. One thing is certain, the guy can shoot and in this 3-point era, another big man who can shoot, apart from having the necessary tools to defend, will definitely come in handy.
Now let's set our attention on the guy we'll lose... again. Brynn Forbes is a great shooter. That is already an established fact. However, it is also an established fact that his size, or the lack of it, makes him also a liability on the defensive end. He tries his best to defend well, but he almost always just falls short of what a winning team requires. With the resurgence of Lonnie Walker IV, who is a much better defender than Forbes, and Joshua Primo's show of maturity beyond his years during the Spurs' Covid-19 episode, Brynn has unfortunately become dispensable. Both Lonnie and Joshua are better backup combo guards off the bench. Besides, Derrick White and Doug McDermott will take majority of the shooting guard minutes for the Spurs from hereon out.
This is a great bargain for the Spurs, in my opinion. Juancho may just be the guy the front offices expected that didn't pan out when they drafted Luka Samanic. He is definitely your typical Spur, who always plays the right way. You'll definitely find this out once he starts playing for Pop. Or I might be wrong and he might be part of another deal packaged with Thaddeus Young for a better haul.
Then we have the 2nd rounder for 2028. That's basically the mark of a great franchise. We're not only looking for short-term gains. We'll constantly also considering the future. What more could you ask?
Go Spurs Go!