Transcript | Rich Cho on Hernangomez

by Quinton Wash

On what the organization likes in Willy Hernangomez that led to trading for him:

“Well, we’re really excited to get Willy. He was a guy that we scouted for a long time back when he was playing in Spain, both for Sevilla and Real Madrid. We were really hoping to get him in the draft a few years ago, and unfortunately at that time New York took him before he could fall to us. But we like him a ton. He’s a young, active, talented big man. He’s a guy that has really solid fundamentals, great hands, decent touch, a high basketball IQ. We think he’s got a lot of upside.”

On how the team plans to fit Hernangomez into the mix at the Center position:

“I think that’s just going to work itself out. Obviously, Coach is going to dole out the minutes. I think that will just work itself out. I think he or Cody can play a little bit of power forward as well. He’s a guy that we feel can come in and give us some minutes if given the opportunity. As I’m sure you’re aware of, he played 18 minutes a game last year, his first year in the league - and averaged eight [points] and seven [rebounds] and was on the All-NBA Rookie First Team.”

On how Hernangomez compared to the team’s other big men defensively:

“Well, I think he’s a little different defender than Dwight. He’s not as much of a rim protector, but he’s a good positional defender. It’s probably not one of his greatest strengths, but I think all three – Dwight, Cody, and Willy all play a little differently and have their own strengths and weakness. When he’s played good minutes, if you look at the last 31 games of last year, he averaged nearly a double-double. So, I think if given the opportunity he’ll bring some good play for us.”

On if this move was made to keep Hernangomez or to flip him in another possible deal:

“Well, I think we want to bring him here to get minutes and be a part of our program. Obviously, anything is possible down the road. But we really, like I said, scouted him a ton and really liked him in the draft a few years ago and look forward to having him here for a while.”

On if deal is salary cap motivated:

“Well, I think in today’s environment it is really important to have guys that can be part of your rotation on rookie scale deals or low salary deals. Obviously, I can’t disclose what he is making, but he is on his first contract. We feel like he is really good value, and every team is looking for good value contracts and players that can help them on good value contracts.”


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