Juancho Hernangomez on defending LeBron James
Rookie Juancho Hernangomez got his first taste of defending LeBron James at the power forward spot when the Denver Nuggets faced the Cleveland Cavaliers on Feb. 11. While he only played 17 minutes in the outing, the Spanish international was able to learn a very valuable thing — you don’t poke the King without some repercussions.
“First time coach (Mike Malone) said you got LeBron, I said ‘oh my god,'” recalled Hernangomez according to Harrison Wind of BSN Denver. “First ball in the low post, I stole it, so I think he may be angry at me. The next three attacks, he goes right at me, then and-one, and-one, and-one. So I just go home, I have nothing else to do.”
Hernangomez rebounded to score career-highs of 27 points and 10 rebounds in a blowout win against the Golden State Warriors the next game, finding his stroke from beyond the arc, draining 6-of-10 shot attempts.
“He’s probably the best player in the world for the past 15 years,” Hernangomez said of James.
Juancho: "First time coach said you got LeBron, I said 'oh my god.' First ball in the low post I stole it so I think he may be angry at me." pic.twitter.com/Zqzqc228Tj
— Harrison Wind (@HarrisonWind) February 14, 2017
Going against a four-time MVP can be very intimidating for a player, especially one that has come from overseas and is still adjusting to the pace of the NBA game. Needless to say, there’s always lessons to learn and Hernangomez seemed to put them to good use in his very next game.