The Future of Spanish Basketball: Juan Nunez and the NBA Draft

The Future of Spanish Basketball: Juan Nunez and the NBA Draft

Go ahead that the title is misleading, but someone had to be put; Come on, I say. And this one didn’t seem bad to me at all. It is not that the Madrid point guard represents the intended slope of national basketball, no; it just happens to stage it by being Juan Nunez the only Spanish player who will opt for Draft one in 2024and that, distinguished readers, deserves deep reflection.

In the middle of the 80sand thanks above all to the Olympic silver in Los Angeles 84 and seeing such a Michael Jordan, We finally opened our eyes to the best league in the world. The Americans who played in the ACB They were getting better and better and the only thing left to do was see one of ours play in a franchise of the NBA. And that happened in 1986 when Fernando Martin He played one season with the Portland Blazers. Well, playing is a euphemism, because the truth is that he only played 24 parties with very poor averages: six minutes and less than one point and one rebound per game. But as we have said on several occasions, it must be said that the coaches’ contempt for European players was regrettable. Martín was elected in the number 38 of the Draft by the Nets, but the Blazers themselves chose Drazen Petrovic in the number… 60!

Fernando Martín, with Julius Erving during his time in the NBA

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On one occasion Louis Canute He told me that he went to see Martín in Portland. The center trained in Magariños was going to play as a starter due to an injury to his Kevin Duckworth, the undisputed center of the team. When training was over, an interior player signed for ten days proposed to Martín to play one on one. Canut observed that some of the veterans were laughing. Well, at the first opportunity, the temporary worker gave him a elbow in the nose to Fernando, who had to retire and could not play that night. He played the occasional. What a coincidence, right? That’s what it’s like to be a rookie.

Martín’s obvious failure – the following year Madrid opened the doors to him again – greatly cooled the spirits of the Spanish players. José Antonio Montero if he dared, without much success: he was elected in 1987 at number 113 by the Atlanta Hawks. Obviously, they didn’t see his hair.

Pau Gasol, excited after his selection with the number three in the Draft in 2001

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All that changed, of course, when Pau Gasol He was chosen at number three in the 2001 Draft. That position guaranteed him a salary of more than three million euros per year. Atlanta traded him to Memphis where he managed to be the rookie of the year; as if he had been, well, the number one of the draft. 17 seasons in the NBA and two rings contemplate him. Other players went through the Draft with interesting careers in the NBA; The best no doubt, Ricky Rubionumber five in 2009. Marc Gasolchosen at number 48 in 2007 was what is known as a true steal of the Draft, and an undoubted success for the Grizzlies. Usman Garuba y Saints Aldama, In 2021, they were the last Spaniards to enter the lottery.

There is little doubt in thinking that Juan Nunez He will never play in the NBA. And if he does, he will be purely testimonial. He is an intelligent player who has spent two seasons in Germanywith Ulm, very interesting; but from there to playing for the champions Boston CelticsAs someone has commented, there is a very large stretch. We have read everything: that it will come out at number 30, first round, or those who comment that it will do so beyond number 50, in the second round. Be that as it may, His destination seems to be Europe, and not the United States.

Ricky Rubio, with the Minnesota Timberwolves cap, on the day of his selection in the NBA Draft

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And what we were going for, now that the time of the Gasol brothers and Ricky Rubio, who only seeks happiness, is over, A difficult time is opening up for Spanish basketball. It will be difficult to see players with such talent again who have real options to stand out in the demanding world of the NBA. It will also be very difficult for the Spanish team to remain among the best in the world, as it has been in the last two decades. There are young people who promise, naturally, but we will have to be patient with all of them.

And to finish, I want to talk about Martín a little more. In my opinion he was short to play as a tall center; in my opinion Audie Norris He was superior to him, but I must also say that he was a player with a lot of personality, a lot. He had a reputation for being unfriendly, but I had a good relationship with him. The day of his death we broadcast a Madrid-CAI live from the Community pavilion – then Wizink didn’t even exist. Leaving Barajas we came across what seemed like a very serious accident. When we arrived at the pavilion we saw Antonio Martin. His brother Fernando had just died. I will never forget that afternoon of December 3, 1989…

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2024-06-25 06:12:10
#Juan #Núñez #decline #Spanish #basketball #Jordi #Robirosa

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