What Bruno Fernando needs to do to be guaranteed by the Atlanta Hawks

Bruno Fernando could be playing for his NBA career with the Atlanta Hawks. His contract is not guaranteed for next season, so let's examine whether the big man has done enough.
Feb 14, 2024; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte Hornets center Nick Richards (4) blocks a
Feb 14, 2024; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte Hornets center Nick Richards (4) blocks a / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks need to work on their roster. They are staring into the abyss of another wasted season, and they have no roster flexibility short of trades in the offseason, particularly as they made no moves before the trade deadline this season.

Due to different factors, the Hawks need to move on from two of their higher-paid players. Clint Capela is not living up to his $22 million price tag per season, nor is De'Andre Hunter worth the money that he is being paid for the next three seasons. So, the Hawks need to trade them and then look to their future. Otherwise, they risk wasting more of Trae Young's prime.

As such, the Hawks need to explore options on their team that are inexpensive and already know the system. Bruno Fernando is a solid defensive center who can finish at the rim, and, at 25, seems to fit the timeline. He is also only due $2.7 million next season, should the Atlanta Hawks choose to guarantee the deal.

The pros and cons of Bruno Fernando for the Atlanta Hawks.

First we start with the cons for Fernando. At 6'9" Fernando is an undersized center. Given that Onyeka Okongwu is only 6'8" this leaves the Hawks dangerously small at the pivot position, particularly if they trade Capela. Guaranteeing Fernando would give them a big man at a low price point but does not fix their issues.

Fernando is also not an offensive threat on a nightly basis. He is only averaging 4.0 points per game with 51.0 percent of his shot attempts coming from within three feet of the hoop. He is taking a further 35.3 percent of his shots from 3-10 feet but is only hitting 33.3 percent of these. This does not help the Hawks space the floor.

On the plus side, Fernando is also a solid rebounder, averaging 3.1 rebounds per game. This does not seem like much but when you are only playing 8.9 minutes per game, this is a solid number. In the game before the All-Star break, Fernando played just under 26 minutes and rebounded the ball 12 times, three of them offensive.

On top of that, Fernando is a solid defender. He is never going to be an All-Defensive player, there is just too much ground between his game and those near the top of the NBA. He has the ability to come on at the end of a quarter and try to stop the opposition from going on a run leading into a break.

Fernando is an honest toiler who needs time and reps in the league. If he can develop into a solid rotation player that allows the Hawks to explore options through trade, then this is a tremendous benefit for the future. However, holding onto Fernando if there is only hope that he can develop is folly. He needs to show the Hawks something more.

His contract allows the Hawks to have a level of flexibility and there is potential for Fernando to show that he can assist the team to rebuild. On top of that, if the Hawks need a piece for a trade then Fernando's contract could allow them to throw him in to get a deal done. So, all in all, guaranteeing Fernando is a safe move but not one that moves the needle for anyone but Fernando. So, yes, the Hawks should guarantee the big man but keep an eye out for deals that can help the franchise.