Atlanta Hawks: Why Bruno Fernando has dropped out of the rotation

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

This season the Atlanta Hawks have almost been down to last man standing thanks to their massive injury issues. However, this has not helped second-year man Bruno Fernando get much court time, particularly since interim head coach Nate McMillan took over.

Of the 26 games played since McMillan replaced Lloyd Pierce as the head man for the Hawks, Fernando has only played 10 of them, averaging only 3.2 minutes. With the exception of the Orlando Magic game just prior to the All-Star break, his appearances have only been in blowouts.

So, the question is, why is Fernando, a somewhat promising second-year, defensive-minded center, only getting junk-time minutes under McMillan. The answer is simple, he is not good enough offensively to get on the court. However, it goes deeper than that.

The Atlanta Hawks big man situation is bad for Bruno Fernando

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The Hawks have the services of one of the best big men in the association, Clint Capela. He is leading the NBA in rebounding, and third in blocked shots. He has been putting up historic numbers all season long and will be a huge factor in the playoffs, especially with his defense.

Prior to McMillan taking over, Fernando was battling with rookie Onyeka Okongwu for the backup minutes. However, thanks to the connection Okongwu has developed with Lou Williams in the pick and roll, he is soaking up all the meaningful backup big man minutes.

On top of that, John Collins is showing that he is learning from Capela and he is also stepping in to play small-ball center. Danilo Gallinari is also playing a similar role at times which means that all the minutes that could have gone to Fernando, are being taken by players with greater offensive talents.

What comprehensively showed fans that Fernando is not trusted with non-junk-time minutes was during the game against the Miami Heat. Capela was out, Okongwu had started and the rotations worked out that Collins was sitting on the bench. Only Gallinari was on the court of the big man rotations. Defensively, McMillan had Solomon Hill playing center.

Next. The Hawks have the best bench in the NBA. dark

If a 6’6″ forward is preferred at center in a game that has huge meaning for the season, then Fernando is not getting back into the rotation any time soon. It would not be surprising if the Hawks trade him during the offseason to free up a roster spot and the $1.8 million he is owed.