Boston Celtics: Juan Hernangómez gets a fresh start to prove his worth

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - FEBRUARY 21: Juan Hernangomez #41 of the Minnesota Timberwolves defends against Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics during the game at Target Center on February 21, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - FEBRUARY 21: Juan Hernangomez #41 of the Minnesota Timberwolves defends against Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics during the game at Target Center on February 21, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

After a brief 66-game stint with Minnesota and a shorter nine-day stay in Memphis, Juan Hernangomez has been traded to the Boston Celtics for Kris Dunn, Carsen Edwards, and a 2026 second-round pick swap.

On August 25th, Juan Hernangómez was acquired by the Memphis Grizzlies as part of the Patrick Beverley, Grit and Grind tweet debacle. However, looking at the Grizzlies Roster, chock full of fours and fives like Steven Adams, Jaren Jackson Jr., Xavier Tilman, as well as 2021 Draft Picks Ziaire Williams and Santi Aldama, Hernangómez’ place in Memphis was far from permanent.

Nine days later, Juan Hernangómez has been expectedly moved out of a Grizzlies uniform, and into a Celtics uniform, with Boston sending guards Kris Dunn and Carsen Edwards to Memphis, along with a 2026 second-round pick swap.

For Memphis, this trade provides Dunn with a formidable spot as a rotation player. Ja Morant spent 96 percent of his minutes at the one-spot, with Tyus Jones holding down 100 percent of his minutes at the point as Morant’s backup.

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This year, in limited minutes for the Hawks, Dunn effectively split his time between the one-and-two guards, and seeing as his 6-foot-3 frame trumps the aforementioned guards, as well as De’Anthony Melton, Dunn is more than likely to play backup at the two-spot, sharing minutes with Melton. As for Kris Dunn’s production, his limited play in Atlanta reflects poorly, playing only nine games for the Hawks (5 in the Playoffs) playing only 78 minutes total over those showings. During the regular season, Dunn’s PER was a dismal -5.7, relative to the league average of 15.00.

However, Dunn’s rehab from an MCL injury in February of 2020, and added stress of an early-season right-knee ailment all but eliminated his chances of real playing time. Seeing as Dunn was able to see the floor in the dying minutes of Hawks playoff games, it is likely to see him ramp up his return with Memphis

Carsen Edwards, on the other hand, playing more than 10 minutes only eight times in the past season for Boston, has neither the proven past of successful play nor the excuse of serious injury to give him solace for the upcoming season in Memphis. While Edwards’ Summer League showing was strong, averaging 13.8, 5.6, and 4.4 in 27.4 minutes per contest, Summer League performances are often better left as indicators of what could be, rather than what actually is.

In the NBA, Edwards has struggled to lift his shooting splits above 40 percent his career averages from the field and from beyond the arc sit at 37 percent and 30 percent, respectively. Edwards’ minutes this year will likely be spent with the newly re-named Maine Celtics or any number of other G-League rosters.

Boston effectively gave the point-guard spots to Marcus Smart, Dennis Schröder, and (likely on-occasion) up-and-comer Payton Pritchard, leaving no room for Dunn and Edwards in the rotation, mostly due to Boston’s affinity for positionless, switchable players.

As for the included pick-swap, the eventual product of the second-rounder is likely beginning eighth grade. Make of that what you will

However, the centerpiece of the Memphis Grizzlies-Boston Celtics trade is Juan Hernangómez, a 6-foot-9, 214 lb forward who spent the majority of his last season with the Timberwolves at the small or power forward. Hernangómez, the 15th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft has solidified his role in the league as a middle-of-the-pack stretch four, and I say four lightly.

While Hernangómez’s advantages have been a good-looking jumper and versatility, and above-average speed at his position, his numbers, and performances don’t reflect success. A negative defender and poor rebounder for his size and position, Hernangómez has regularly been played at the three, but with Boston’s apparent adoration for players 6-foot-9 and below (See Al Horford, Jabari Parker, Robert Williams) it is probable that Juan Hernangómez will make a home for himself as a PF alongside one of Horford, or Williams (And in extreme situations, the Celtics’ one exception to the rule, 7-foot-2 Luke Kornet).

If Hernangómez is to carve out minutes over Parker, Grant Williams, and recently acquired Bruno Fernando, his offensive floor-spacing and consistency will need to improve greatly, as it’s likely that his defensive prowess will not.

Next. Scottie Barnes will be a runaway for Rookie of the Year. dark

Though the offseason is far from over, with training camp deals inevitably coming and going, Hernangomez, Dunn, and Edwards (Eighth-Grader not included) will have to show their worth before teams finalize their roster spots for training camps, which begin on the 28th of September, and the regular season, opening for the Boston Celtics on October 20th at New York, and for the Memphis Grizzlies on October 20th vs Cleveland.