Through four games of the NBA preseason, the Denver Nuggets are 2-2 with the biggest test coming tonight against the Golden State Warriors. There isn’t a lot to be learned in the preseason for most teams — it’s more of a tune-up to get your body and mind right for the 82-game grind — but for the young Denver Nuggets, this is valuable time for the new guys like Jamal Murray, Juancho Hernangomez and Malik Beasley.

So far, Juancho has been a pleasant surprise for Nuggets Nation, and I got the chance to catch up with him Thursday at Pepsi Center.

It’s hard to put yourself in a professional athlete’s shoes. They live in a world us normal folk just cannot comprehend. The money, the travel, the lifestyle, it really is a completely different world. Now, imagine what it’s like to become integrated to that, all while finding yourself in a brand new country, learning a new language and trying to live out your dream.

“I keep improving myself, my life, my job, but I need to get more consistent at my job,” Hernangomez said. “This is a new life. The NBA is the dream that all the kids wanted, so I need to work hard. But the planes, the hotels, how you work here, playing against stars that last year you watched on TV, everything changed for me.”

He understands that he is making a big jump, both professionally and personally, but he’s also doing so at the tender age of 21. Juancho has a lot of work to do to get to where he wants to be and where the Nuggets want him to be, but he has already done more than the team could have expected, which is why earned him a spot on the team.

A player that has talent, is grateful to be where they are, and is willing to put in the work is the type of player every organization longs for, and the Denver Nuggets seem to be stockpiling them.

But of all the things that have surprised Juancho about joining the NBA, seeing himself in the latest NBA 2K video game may be the coolest.

“It’s good,” Hernangomez said. “I am really happy because I want to tell my sons in the future that I got to be in a video game.”

I asked Head Coach Michael Malone about Juancho and how he has seen the young forward progress since joining the organization, and he only had one word to describe him.

“He is a stallion, he is just a wild stallion,” Malone said. “I’m not sure he really knows what he is doing but he plays hard, he’s got a motor, he’s got toughness. I put myself in his shoes, a new country, new league, and new rules, imagine what I would be like in Madrid in his shoes. But I am proud of him because he’s not hanging his head; he continues to work his butt off, but he has to learn how to play without fouling.”

It will take some time for Juancho to make an impact on this team, but he will, sooner rather than later!