In this latest instalment of draft profiles, I will be looking at Bruno Fernando.
College Team: Maryland (Sophomore)
Position: Power Forward/Centre
2018-19 Stats: Over 30 games in 30min per game he averages 14pts, 10.5reb, 2blk, 0.6 stl, 2ast at 63% FG, 25% 3P and 77% FT.
Projected Draft Spot: Mid 1st Rd – Mid 2nd Rd.
Athleticism…the basis for all of the positives (and negatives) of his game are built around this – and he has loads of it. For a big guy (6’10") he also moves quite well, with some good footwork down low. Both also help him pull down boards at a pretty good rate.
Most of his scoring is around the rim, however he is developing a decent mid-range shot (most of his shots come from mid/mid-range to the rim). He has only shot a total of eight 3pt’ers the whole season and hit two – so there may be a long shot that he can develop a perimeter game. If he can develop a deeper mid-range game, say out to the elbows he could be more of a spacing big. Down low, he scores well on put-backs, dunks and using his footwork to get up-n-unders. He also has the speed to run the court on a break. Bruno’s strength and size allows him to take contact and finish, or pick up fouls, which his 77% FT shooting allows him to exploit. His solid FT shooting may bode well for some stretch shooting development in the future.
He can at times put the ball on the ground and attack the lane effectively. He can also pass relatively well, with 2ast per game. He can pass out of the lane to open team-mates, or can exploit defences sagging onto him to find an open team-mate near the rim.
On the defensive end Bruno is a solid performer with both rebounding and blocked shots, where he averages 2blks per game, with a few deflected passes here and there, in his forte. He has the size, strength and athleticism to box out and grab rebounds in traffic.
He won a Big 10 Player of the Week in 2019 and the highlight video (see below) of that shows a good range of the skills he would bring to the Spurs.
Bruno can be a bit turnover prone. His speed and athleticism can get him into trouble as he tries to force the offence, either by throwing a bad pass into traffic, or by attacking the lane too hard and being forced into a bad shot. As he scores mostly in the post, he needs to expand his range and offensive repertoire to be more effective offensively in the NBA. His passing out of double-teams is okay, but needs to improve if he otherwise he will bog down offensive sets and ball-movement. The one area he needs to work on is his ability to read defensive set-ups earlier so that he can pass out of double-teams before then fully set on him. Developing more offensive tools down low will help draw opponents in with him, which will open up team-mates, but if he can’t exploit that then the play will certainly bog down.
Apparently, on the defensive end he can be a bit foul prone, and he does average nearly 3 fouls per game. But as we have seen with Poeltl, with some good coaching and added experience this can be overcome in time.
NBA Player Comparison: DeAndre Jordan (lite), Omeka Okafor, Clint Capela (lite), Alonzo Mourning (super lite), Dwayne Dedmon.
Fit with the Spurs:
Well the Spurs got rid of Gasol. Aldridge is aging (wonderfully I might add), and Poeltl at this stage is a solid big who is limited to inside only offence (which he does quite well). But they do need another big, as Metu is a couple years away from looking like he might make the rotation (if he ever does). But here’s the problem, at the moment Bruno is a rim running big, with much of the same defence as Poeltl, just done with more athleticism. If Poeltl is traded down the road, or leaves in free agency, then maybe having Fernandez in the fold might be something the Spurs look at. That and the Spurs have the "Coach of Whatever He Wants" in one of the greatest PF/C’s ever in Duncan.
I could see Bruno working with mix of White, Murray, Walker, DeRozan – running pick-n-rolls, doing rim-running lobs (like they used to with Dedmon) or flashing down the court for fast breaks, he could develop the inside offensive presence that defences would have to honour, opening up space for perimeter players, or other cutters to do their work, with his quick movements and attacks on the lane. The Spurs could develop a new Twin Towers with a combo of Poeltl and Fernando, but only if Bruno can develop more shooting range. Or he would work well alongside Bertans, Gay, or even Aldridge (if he stretches out his range as he ages).
I think that Bruno certainly has the athleticism, build and fundamental skill set to play in the NBA, and a year spent in Austin may just accelerate his growth like it has done with the Spurs recent rookies. He is more ready to play in the NBA than Metu is at the moment.
Next Profile: Chuma Okeke