POSITION: Point Guard
SCHOOL/ TEAM: Real Madrid (Spain)
Creative ambidextrous passer
Good feel and court vision
Confident high reward risk taker
Plays with flash and flare
Some offensive creativity and craftiness
Decent floater and wrong foot finish package
Upside as a pull up shooter
Solid P&R finisher
Accelerates and decelerates well
AREAS TO IMPROVE
Lacks ideal burst and quickness
Not an explosive leaper
Below the rim finisher
Gets shots blocked at the rim
3 point range
Free throw shooting
Spain’s Juan Nunez is ranked as one of the top prospects in Europe born in 2004 largely due to his ability to run a team and his incredible playmaking skills.
Nunez is a terrific passer with a little bit of flash and flare to his game… Well let me take that back. A LOT of flash and flair. His creativity as playmaker is the reason he’s one of my favorite players to watch on any level.
He’s ambidextrous passer that seems to have some sauce or flavor on every single assist, behind the back passes out of a ball screens epitomizes the confidence that Nunez plays with. It might be a lazy comparison but there’s some young Ricky Rubio in his game…
Nunez is also a crafty scorer that does most of his damage in the paint by keeping defenders off balance with shot fakes, changing speeds, accelerating, decelerating and shifty ball handling. Again this is another lazy comparison but I believe he’s patterned his game after Spanish National team and fellow Real Madrid legend Sergio Llull.
Nunez is most effective scoring when he’s getting downhill and attacking bigs out of ball screens. He has a deceptive first step and he finds ways to get to the basket especially when he’s driving to his left. I’m a lefty and there’s a joke that all left handlers can get back to their left hand even if forced to the right. Juan Nunez is an example of a lefty that always gets back to his left hand when attacking the rim.
Around the rim he has a variety of finishes, like floaters, runners, scoops and reverse layups where he uses the rim as shield to get his buckets.
Although he’s left hand dominant, he can score driving to his right. Here are a couple plays vs Senegal at the U19 Workd Cup where took advantage of switches and finished with his right.
Nunez hasn’t been an efficient pull up shooter at this stage in his career, but I believe he can develop into a respectable shooter off the dribble..
Respectable enough to keep defenses honest.
Now let’s talk about some areas where I’d like to see Nunez improve… He’s a guy who’s value can’t be measured in statistics alone. He plays winning basketball, rebounds, defends and controls the game like a savvy vet.
However, his most glaring weakness is his outside shooting.. In 6 games for Real Madrid’s U18 team that played in the Adidas Next Generation, Nunez shot a combined 5 for 18 from three.
The numbers didn’t improve at the FIBA U19 World Cup this summer where he missed all 10 of his attempts from deep… Even if you go back to 2019 at the U16 Euro Championships he only connected on 31% of his 3’s on a little under 3 attempts per game..
If you believe free throw shooting is a good indicator of shooting touch, then these numbers will really scare you.. He's shot 64.3% from foul line in 14 FIBA games since 2019 and was 14-25 from the charity stripe at the Adidas Next Generation tournament.
Another area that concerns me is his lack of pop around the rim. He’s a below the rim finisher and has some craftines, but there are times where it’s obvious he lacks explosiveness and vertical pop.
Lastly I mentioned how I love his creativity as a passer and his gunslinger high risk/ high reward style of play. Well the downside is, he has a tendency to force passes in tight spaces and which leads to turnovers. For all his brilliance as a passer, his assists numbers were even with his turnovers at the U19s.
There’s are just a few concerns for right now, the good thing is Nunez just turned 17 in June so he has time on his side. If I’m not mistaken he’s young enough to play in the 2023 U19s.
Rafael Barlowe - August 25, 2021