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Juancho Hernangomez clarifies harsh comments about Celtics tenure originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Boston Celtics have come a very long way this season.
While the Celtics are three wins from an NBA title after defeating the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night, they were a sub-.500 team plagued by inconsistency over the first two-plus months of the 2021-22 campaign.
Juancho Hernangomez, who was on the Celtics' roster from late August 2021 to January 19, 2022, shared his take on Boston's early struggles during a recent interview with the Spanish newspaper El País.
"I wasn’t happy there, it was very hard," Hernangomez told El País' Daniel Arribas in Spanish, as translated by Yahoo Sports. "There was no communication, I didn’t know what was expected of me. There were many super selfish players, no team building. I lost my love for basketball a bit."
While it's possible some of Hernangomez's comments got lost in translation, those are some harsh comments from the Spanish big man, who appeared in just 18 games for Boston and averaged 1.1 points over 5.3 minutes per game.
But Hernangomez joined Peacock's "The Rich Eisen Show" on Friday and offered a bit more measured take about his time with the Celtics.
"We had a rough start," Hernangomez said. "We got a couple of close losses, a new coach, new everything. Everybody tried to (figure) out their roles. I was so happy there. I was so happy with the city, with the team, with the fans.
"... They are three wins (away from) the title. I mean, they deserve it. They work so hard. We just had a bad beginning of the season. We didn’t find our game, but I’m happy they changed things and they deserve to win the championship."
Hernangomez's frustration during his Boston tenure is understandable. He was never able to find a role in the Celtics' rotation, and the C's were 10th in the Eastern Conference at 23-23 when the team traded him to the San Antonio Spurs. The Celtics struggled to play team basketball early in the season, with Marcus Smart even calling out Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown for being too selfish.
Things clicked for the Celtics shortly after dealing Hernangomez, though: They won 28 of their final 36 regular-season games and stormed to the NBA Finals thanks to greatly improved chemistry and a top-ranked defense.
And while Hernangomez may not have loved his experience in Boston, it appears he's rooting for his former team as it prepares for Game 2 on Sunday at Chase Center.