NBA Draft

Juan Nunez is a Top-Five 2024 NBA Draft Prospect

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Juan Nunez is a 6’4″, 194-pound European prodigy, whose shot-creation, offensive vision and on-ball defense lauds him as a top prospect in the 2024 NBA Draft.

Nunez was ranked at number five in The Lead’s 2024 NBA Draft Big Board, and second amongst all guards.

The 19-year-old is undoubtedly a top prospect in this draft. A European prodigy who has played professionally since the tender age of 15, he is the embodiment of the modern point guard.

His ability to read and play the floor with little-to-no mistakes at such a young age is remarkable. He is the, by far and wide, best playmaker in this class. He sets the table like no prospect I have ever seen with my own two eyes. He even puts the napkins into those fancy napkin rings.

In 2022-23, he was top-ten in assists in the EuroCup in just 19 minutes per game. By the 2023-24 season, he ranked top-four. He was cutting apart the strongest defences in Europe like a hot knife through butter… at 16 years of age.

But where did this guy come from?

Nunez begun his journey with Real Madrid in 2015, where he was scouted into the most elite academy in all of Europe at just 10 years of age. After rising through the youth ranks for five and a half years, Nunez made his professional debut in 2021 for Real Madrid amongst an injury crisis in the senior team.

The original plan? Give the kid a few spot minutes here and there until the real players were again healthy. Instead, Nunez made his mark on legendary European coach Pablo Laso, and kept his spot for 14 uber-impressive months. At the end of his contract, he made the switch to Bundesliga, signing for Ratiopharm Ulm.

Since joining the German giants, he has averaged 10.8 points and 5.0 assists in just 22 minutes per game. His shooting splits in the Bundesliga are a turn-off, but when you see his numbers in other competitions this year — such as the Euro Cup — he has averaged 50.4% from the field, to pair with 36% from deep.

While at times streaky, he can light you up from three-point range at a moment’s notice. His shot also appears smooth, with no major problems with the fundamentals of it, and so he has immense potential to grow into an elite scorer from range.

On the defensive end though is where he rises up my board dramatically. His ruthless and relentless pressure on the ball handler is a trait that can’t be taught. He has averaged 1.6 steals per, despite his limited minutes. He even has a defensive rating of 109.8 in those minutes. Pair that with an elite steal percentage of 3.87, and you have an elite on-ball defender, who can hold his own against almost any guard or forward in the league.

He showed this again, when he finished the 2023-24 EuroCup campaign eighth in total steals.

Similarly to many other European success stories such as Luka Doncic and Giannis Antetokounmpo, he possesses that burning fire and passion for winning, and he will stop at nothing to achieve that.

And it’s THAT, that has really taken my attention.

About Nic Thomas

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