Juan Nunez Garcia
NBA draft eligible in 2023
Measurements: 6’3” / ≈160lb
Advanced Stats: 30.0 AST% / 25.6 TO% / 5.2 REB% / 5.9 STL% / 0.0 BLK %
108.6 OFF RTG and 83.4 DEF RTG for a +25.2 NET RTG
59.4 TS% on 17.8 USG%
Stats from 4 games in U18 Euroleague Adidas Next Gen 2020
Background: Won Tournament MVP at U18 Euroleague Adidas Next Gen as a 15 year old… Led Real Madrid to the tournament championship… Playing with Real’s top team in LIGA ACB… Considered a first round prospect by ESPN… Made All Tournament Team in the 2019 U16 Euro Championship A…
Personality: Very team oriented… Doesn’t need the ball to be successful… Doesn’t show much emotion on the court…
Injury History: No injury made public
Athleticism: Can get vertical but only with a clear lane for takeoff… Doesn’t offer much lateral quickness… Solid at accelerating and decelerating on a dime… Below average strength, but in a good developmental program…
Projected Fit: Secondary Facilitator
High: NBA Secondary Guard
Nunez will build on his passing ability along with his ability to finish inside the 3 point line. His jump shot will need to be at the point of making defenders respect him on the perimeter, or he could struggle to create for others. A great example of the path where he doesn’t develop a jumper is Rubio. He is an above average team defender who is active in passing lanes and constantly is a leader in STL%. He is a great locker room presence. He pushes the pace anytime he is on the court with his dribble and especially with his ability to make passses in transition. He tames his ball handle and plays much more under control. He plays a lot like Teodosic, but stronger on the defensive end. Nunez will have to play a higher usage brand of basketball in order to reach his ceiling. Overall, Nunez plays an exciting brand of basketball and contributes to a winning culture.
Medium: NBA Role Player
Nunez doesn’t offer much when put into a high usage role, instead taking reps as an off ball player from the bench. I don’t see a scenario where he has a low AST% just because even if he doesn’t develop into a starter, he will still hunt for assists off the bench. He could play a Sergio Rodriguez type role off of the bench. At Rodriguez’s peak, at least 40% of his shots were from within 10 feet, a scenario that could come to fruition for Nunez. Defensively, he struggles mightily as a team defender, but does better as an on ball defender just due to his quick hands.
Low: European Lead Guard
Nunez never makes the transition to America and sticks with Euroleague basketball. He quickly rises up the ranks for Real and plays on their top roster within a few years. He will be in the position of many top European guards of making too much money in Europe for it to be worth their while to play in the NBA. He never really develops into a high usage player, but holds his own in the same role he played with the U18 Real Madrid club, creating ball movement and cultivating wins.
Passing Vision: Nunez is one of the best prospects in Europe currently mainly due to his passing ability combined with his age. He has excellent vision for a prospect who just turned 16 this month. He shows off his passing vision best in transition, pushing the ball up the floor, finding shooters and rim runners. He still relies on his left hand to make the more difficult passes. I don’t see a scenario where he has a low AST% at the professional level just because even if he doesn’t develop into a starter, he will still hunt for assists off the bench. The biggest marker of this skill translating will be his turnovers and gravity on the PNR.
Finishing: Nunez can finish around the rim with either hand despite using his left as a dominant tool for the majority of his game. He can finish at mostly any angle around the rim because of his knowledge of angles. He can spin the ball off the glass from anywhere around the rim. He does a great job on drives of taking an extra dribble and getting to the opposite side of the rim. At times, he even shows hints of a post game, taking hook shots when he gets stuck on his pivot near the rim. He hasn’t demonstrated much of a floater in game play, but he has shown it off in practices with Real.
Mid Range: Nunez does a good job of finishing off the dribble in the mid range. His jumper is much more fluid in this range than from 3 point range, with a much smaller hitch. He can get to this shot pretty easily off of the PNR. He does not have to worry about getting this shot off because he has shown an ability to finish his jumper off balance. He shot at a great rate from inside the 3 point line during U18 play, with a 80 FG%.
Transition: Transition play is the vessel for a lot of Nunez’s success. This is where all of his strengths are at their best and his weaknesses are the least impactful. He sees the floor extremely well and changes his pace to catch the defense off guard. He has made some ridiculous passes in transition, that a lot of professionals couldn’t see. This combined with his ability to finish at the rim makes him a deadly force when going downhill. He works best in a secondary break system where his teammates run out ahead of him along with a single man trailing behind him setting a drag screen.
Areas of Improvement:
3 point shooting: Nunez is a below average 3 point shooter. His release from deep is very different from inside the arc. It takes him much longer to load and he finishes flat. It is also very inconsistent due to a hitch in his release. His footwork is rather inconsistent as well, sometimes taking his jumper with his feet way too close together. In U18 play, he didn’t make a single one of his 8 attempts. This is obviously a tiny sample size, but shows that he can still provide value when his shot isn’t falling. Right now, the most valuable part of his shooting ability is his gravity. He isn’t going to make a ton of jumpers, but he can pull out defenders, especially when he gets hot. His shot will eventually improve, but that will take time.
Handle: His handle isn’t up to par for a lead guard. He dribbles way too high and without much control. He is prone to turnovers because he tries to do too much with his handle. Out of isolation, he can’t really create much space for himself with his handle. He typically will try to use some crazy combination that fails to put his defender off balance or create distance between him and his man. When he does successfully create off the dribble, he uses simple moves and focuses on catching defenders off guard with his pace. He has a great hesitation move. The majority of his creation ability is due to fakes and his passing ability, not dominating players with his handle and getting downhill.
Quick Hands: Nunez isn’t the best on ball defender by any standard, but he does a good job of reading ball handlers and picking their pockets. It was obviously a tiny sample size, but Nunez put up an incredible 5.9 STL% in U18 play. This isn’t sustainable, but it shows a high activity level. Whether it be gambling, or just being really good at reading ball handlers, Nunez gets steals when guarding on the ball.
Flipping the Court: Nunez has great spatial awareness. He knows how to use a team’s positioning and momentum to flip the court in his favor. He may not have the athleticism to be impactful on this end of the floor, but has the mentality to contribute by quickly turning defense into offense. He knows where to be on defense in order to make transition plays happen. This goes along with his quick hands and getting steals. He turns defensive plays into an offensive advantage.
Areas of Improvement:
On-ball defense: Nunez will struggle to guard on the ball. He is laterally slow and struggles to move his hips. He is more worried about staying in front of his man at all, rather than manipulating his movements with his defensive stance. Instead of forcing them to the middle of the floor or to the baseline, he just has to try to not get beat downhill. Once he gets beat off the dribble, there isn’t much hope for him to recover. His foot work could use some more work on this end of the floor as well. Quicker feet would help negate the pressure on him to recover and open up his hips.
Physicality: Nunez needs to put on size to be a plus player on this end of the floor. This will help him a ton with off ball defense. As someone who doesn’t project as much of an athlete he has to be ahead of the play and get positioning. Playing physical and spending time in the weight room will make it much easier for him to get that positioning. Putting on 20-30 pounds of muscle over the next few seasons would benefit him greatly. Even just a simple thing such as chasing his man off of a down screen would be easier with added strength because of the simple act of exploding off of a defensive stance.
Overall Outlook: As of now Nunez’s value is as a secondary creator, but that could change as he works his way into higher usage roles. His biggest asset is by far his passing ability. He needs to work on his jumpshot, specifically getting the hitch out of it and making his footwork more consistent. He is a solid finisher around the rim with either hand. On the defensive end, he needs work as a team defender, but has shown on and off success guarding on the ball due to his ability to get steals. Nunez is an exciting player who is at his best when playing in transition. He is someone to keep an eye on as a first round prospect for the 2023 NBA Draft.