June 20th of 2019 will be a day that is forever celebrated by the Atlanta Hawks as Travis Schlenk showcased his wizardry, grabbing two of the best forwards in the draft; the national champion out of Virginia, DeAndre Hunter, with the 4th pick and the 6’8” standout from Duke, Cameron Reddish, with the 10th pick. The hype around these two athletes is justifiable as they fit in seamlessly beside John Collins, Trae Young, Kevin Huerter and the rest of this young core, all while bringing much-needed depth to the wing position. Travis could’ve stopped there, and Hawks’ fans would’ve been entirely satisfied. But the part-time wizard and full-time NBA savant, kept it going by trading up with the 76ers in the second-round and selecting Bruno Fernando.
Fernando was a player many analysts had going in the middle of the first round and might end up being Atlanta’s starting center for many years to come. The 6’10” native from the country of Angola is precisely what the Hawks need to see running out of the tunnel at State Farm Arena. His presence on the defensive end will help a team that ranked 28th in the league in defensive rating, and he is a monster on the glass, grabbing an average of 10.6 boards per game. Bruno is a physical center who controls the paint, scoring 13.6 points per contest, shooting 60.7% from the field and 77.9% from the foul line.
Not only will his high-flying dunks alongside John Collins allow plenty of ticket holders to jump up and down in excitement, but his defense will fit perfectly in Coach Lloyd Pierce’s system known as “Prevention and Protection” where players will focus on not allowing opponents into the restricted area and adjusting to protect the rim when opposing players inevitably get to the basket.
— Chris Vivlamore (@CVivlamoreAJC) June 6, 2019
Bruno is familiar with preventing easy baskets, averaging 1.9 emphatic send-backs a game. He was named to the first team All-Big Ten and Big Ten All-Defensive team. Coaches regularly talk about his motor and willingness to work on both ends of the court. He will look to bring that energy and drive to an organization that believes they are on their way to becoming legit contenders.
Whether he is throwing down lobs from Trae Young or sending basketballs ten rows deep in the stands from a monster block, this Dwight Howard doppelganger will become a fan favorite. He was a bargain in the second round and has the opportunity to become a cornerstone with Alex Len and Miles Plumlee (both of whom are in the last year of their contracts) as the only other centers on the roster.