The Trail Blazers’ memorable postseason run might be over, but the the 2019 NBA Draft is right around the corner. Portland’s President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey currently has the No. 25 pick in the draft at his disposal and he will look to supplement the Blazers’ roster with a talented prospect in the latter stages of the first round. Today we look at Maryland Terrapins big man Bruno Fernando.
- Height: 6’10.25”
- Weight: 237
- Wingspan: 7’3.25”
- Shooting Hand: Right
- Position: C
- Age: 20
- Projected Draft Range: 22-33
- PPG: 13.6 | Per 40: 18.1
- REB: 10.6 | Per 40: 14.2
- AST: 2.0 | Per 40: 2.7
- STL: 0.6 | Per 40: 0.9
- BLK: 1.9 | Per 40: 2.5
- FG%: 60.7
- 3P%: 30.0 (10 Attempts)
- FT%: 77.9
Athletically, Bruno Fernando is a marvel. The Angolan product is a 6-foot-10, 237-pound big man with explosive athleticism. All of these attributes enable him rebound at a high level and finish shots with authority in the paint. He’s a superb post scorer with both hands and displays a soft jumper when he isn’t bulldozing opponents. Fernando finished 70.8 percent of his shots at the rim, according to Hoop-Math.com. That soft touch inspires hope that his range can expand to the three-point line one day.
The most significant improvement in Fernando’s game, however, has been his passing. Fernando generally makes the right decisions offensively and throws strong outlet passes to start fast breaks. He won’t be throwing Jokic-level dimes, but he’s good enough to find the open cutter or a weak-side shooter.
Despite the strides he made at Maryland, Fernando is still a raw prospect. His lack of polish mostly shows defensively, where he often got caught out of position. Even though he averaged 1.9 blocks per game, he would often bite on pump fakes. Reliant on his athletic prowess, Fernando is primed to battle foul trouble early on. Outside of his straight-line speed, he didn’t show great switchability on the perimeter. His shooting upside is also entirely theoretical. He only shot 13 triples in two years at Maryland, but Fernando says that was a result of the system he played in.
Fernando was a powerful force for the Terrapins during his second season in College Park. Fernando was dominant in the paint all year long. Buoyed by his presence in the post, Maryland finished with a 23-11 record. He led the team in blocks and rebounds, was second in scoring, and first in offensive and defensive ratings. All of this earned him first team All-Big Ten honors.
The hope is that Fernando can blossom into a valuable rim-running center. Multiple scouts have him pinned as a potential Montrezl Harrell type: a high-energy guy who’s not afraid to attack defenders at the basket. He already has an NBA-ready body that should have teams salivating at the possibilities of what he could be. He’s displayed a high-IQ with the ball in his hands as well as a soft touch around the rim. There’s still questions about how effective he’ll be defensively and whether or not he can expand his range. If he’s able to address those problems, he could blossom into a high-end starter.
Forwards aside, there is an argument for the Blazers selecting Fernando. He could be valuable with Jusuf Nurkic out indefinitely and with Enes Kanter potentially leaving in free agency. Long-term, Fernando could fill a Kanter-like role behind a healthy Nurkic. However, there are also several reasons Fernando is risk, especially with the No. 25 pick. The Blazers need shooting, and Fernando’s outside shot is far from proven at this point. He’s an inside scorer who isn’t a great defender yet.
He also doesn’t seem to fit into Olshey’s future plans. Portland’s pre-draft workouts have consisted of guards and forwards.
Do you want to see Fernando in a Blazers jersey next season? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.