Daily Nugget: Juancho and Willy Hernangomez reunite during Wednesday’s game

by Eric Spyropoulos
Staff Writer
@EricSpyrosNBA

The Denver Nuggets and Charlotte Hornets only play each other twice a year, but each game presents a special opportunity for the Hernangomez brothers to catch up. With Juancho and Guillermo (Willy) on teams in separate parts of the country, the grind of the NBA regular season doesn’t provide many opportunities to connect in person.

On Wednesday, the Hernangomez brothers were able to catch up pregame and both shared the court for several minutes during Denver’s 100-86 win against the Hornets. Early in the second quarter, Juancho drove down the lane and rose up for a dunk attempt, only to be met at the rim by none other than his older brother (Juancho missed the dunk).

The two brothers played key roles on Spain’s championship team over the summer during the 2019 FIBA World Cup, which provided a rare chance for the two to compete as teammates rather than opponents.

The two have played against each other since childhood, as their parents were both professional basketball players. Willy told Basketball Insiders back in 2018 that he would team up with their father, while Juancho would enjoy their mother as a teammate.

Although Willy was drafted in 2015, he didn’t make his NBA debut until the 2016-17 season, the same year Juancho debuted for the Nuggets after being drafted 15th overall in the 2016 draft. They have both played at least 180 games over the previous four years, though all of Juancho’s games have come as a member of the Nuggets. His older brother was traded by the Knicks to the Hornets during the 2017-18 season, where he has been ever since.

While they play different positions, they have both built reputations based on their skill level and hustle on the court. Juancho owns career averages of 4.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game (35.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc), while Willy has averaged 6.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in his career.

For now, both brothers continue to fight for consistent playing time on their respective teams. However, for two games each season they are able to focus on family and the brotherly bond that continues to shine between them.

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