The NBA returns at dawn from Tuesday 19 to Wednesday 20 in Spain. The 2021-2022 season starts. The number 75 in the history of North American competition. And he does it with six Spanish players in his ranks: Serge Ibaka, Ricky Rubio, the Hernangómez brothers (Willy and Juancho), Usman Garuba and Santi Aldama. In the absence of knowing Marc Gasol’s decision about his immediate future, it will be the first campaign in the last two decades in which the Gasol last name is not directly linked to the NBA. Three rings, nine All-Star Games and six appearances in the best quintets (All-NBA) of the season. Almost nothing.
Serge Ibaka He faces his thirteenth season in the NBA and second in a row as a Clippers player. After going under the knife this summer, the interior wants to put its back problems behind and focus solely on helping the Clippers establish themselves as one of the main powers in the West. The deadlines in the recovery of Kawhi Leonard’s right knee will, to a large extent, mark the aspirations of the current Conference finalists.
Two days after turning 31, Ricky Rubio lands in the Cavaliers locker room with the aim of cementing and consolidating the franchise project. “I feel like I’m in the prime of my career”, Affirms the point guard after shining with the Selection in the Olympic Games. The Cavs have become this summer with the top scorer and member of the Ideal Five of the men’s tournament in Tokyo 2020. With ten seasons already in hand, the perfect leader to grow young talents such as Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Lauri Markkanen or Jarrett Allen.
The work pays off. Well you know Willy Hernangómez, who knew how to take advantage of his opportunity last year for the New Orleans Pelicans to bet on him for the next three seasons. The pivot, one of the mainstays of the National Team, continues to increase the resources of his arsenal to continue being of importance in the schemes of a team that is seeking to qualify for the playoffs with a coach who makes his debut as head coach, Willie Green.
The Celtics are no longer part of the increasingly reduced list of NBA teams that have not had the services of a Spaniard. Juancho Hernangómez opens a new stage in Boston, a team with aspirations that has undergone important changes in the offices and on the bench to relaunch a project that has Jayson Tatum as a cornerstone. Juancho’s qualities and characteristics of the game open the opportunity for him to become an important player in the schemes of Ime Udoka, another rookie as head coach.
After living his first summer as an absolute international, Usman Garuba faces his first season in the NBA. Usman has in Houston, the team that selected him 23rd in the last draft, the ideal setting to play as a rookie: a rebuilding team full of young players like him. Little competitive pressure to gain experience and consolidate in a league in which Garuba’s qualities are on the rise every day.
Santi Aldama, MVP of the European U18 2019, is the only one of the six Spanish players who has not yet made his debut with the Absolute. A versatile player who already knows American basketball after passing through the University of Loyola Maryland and who has all the conditions to make a place in the NBA. Chosen in the first round of the 2021 draft, his adventure begins with the Memphis Grizzlies, a franchise in which the two Gasol brothers became known and in which Juan Carlos Navarro left a very positive mark in his only campaign on the other side of the Atlantic. .
In addition to Ibaka, Ricky, the Hernangómez, Garuba and Aldama, the Nuggets bench will also have a Spanish color. Jordi Fernandez He continues one more year as Mike Malone’s assistant coach in Denver, a team with clear aspirations in the Western Conference.