See a need fill a need! With four second round picks, the Sixers could have their eyes on Maryland center Bruno Fernando. Although he did not work out with the team, the center could fill an instant void at the backup center spot. Fernando will be the first Angolan player to play in the NBA, and possesses the skills of a traditional center, although he is slightly undersized standing at 6’10”, his 233-pound frame and physicality make up for it. It is still rather unclear where Fernando will be taken in the draft, as some have him mocked late lottery, and some mock him early 2nd round.
In his sophomore season at Maryland, Fernando averaged 13.6 points and 10.6 rebounds per contest in 30 minutes per game. His most dominant performance of his sophomore campaign was a 25p/13r game against Indiana.
The handsome big man relentlessly attacked the glass and created several second chance points for the Terps, as well as finding lanes and alleys to roll off of screens that he set for the ball handler. With notably large hands, this makes him a lob threat in any offense whether off an inbound pass, in transition, or in a half court set. While a three-point shot is not in his repertoire, he is a real threat as a rim runner.
He was named First Team All Big Ten, All Big Ten Defensive Team, and has a knack for the glass as he finished the season with 22 double doubles. His atomic dunks and seismic blocks highlight his profile as a prospect. His post game was reliant on his strength and athleticism as the footwork and vision still need some work. His uses his frame to seal off defenders and receive passes in the post, but against NBA competition, relying on just a spin move into a hook shot is unsustainable.
One very bright note is his speed work done at the combine. Of the centers who worked out at the combine, Fernando clocked first in both the shuttle run and three-quarter court sprint, and second in lane agility; this adds to his ability to be a rim to rim at the next level. However, his on ball and PnR defense is something that needs tremendous work. While his shot blocking abilities carried him to the All Big Ten Defensive Team, he was often picked apart in the pick and roll. Most of his blocks came in transition or off of help (thanks, athleticism).
From watching and reading about him, Fernando gives off some strong Richaun Holmes vibes. While Richaun was much more vertically explosive than Bruno, and Bruno is much more muscular than Richaun, they play a similar style of rim to rim basketball, and eye-testing highlights will tell you they’re better at defense than they really are.
If Bruno Fernando falls to the second round, the Sixers should be intrigued with what the Angolan big man has to offer them right off the bat next season: a playable back up big with athleticism and immense passion for the game. If used correctly in the rotation, Fernando could be a great paring with Shake Milton, or another FA guard who can operate as a ball handler in the pick and roll.