The Houston Rockets have signed Bruno Fernando to a one-year exhibit-10 contract for the 2022-23 NBA season. The soon-to-be 24-year-old center from Angola becomes the Rockets' 20th player under contract, the maximum allowable amount, and the exhibit-10 contract does not guarantee him money or a spot on the roster. It is expected that he will fight with Usman Garuba and Boban Marjanovic for the backup center spot in training camp.
Fernando joined the Rockets last season from the Boston Celtics as part of the Daniel Theis trade. He featured in 10 games and averaged 9.4 minutes per appearance with the Rockets after playing a total of 58 minutes across 20 games for the Celtics.
Fernando made the most of his limited minutes in Houston with impressive defense and efficient finishing around the rim. His defensive activity, in particular, stood out. In only 9.4 minutes a game, he contested 3.6 shots per game, 9th most on the Rockets, but every player ranked ahead of him averaged at least 20 minutes per game.
He also snagged an impressive defensive rebounding percentage of 34.1%, which, over a full season, would have been the third best in the NBA. Fernando’s offensive game was limited to shots around the rim, but he shot 70.7% from the field for 6.9 points per game.
94 minutes is an incredibly small sample, and much of his run came at the end of the season against teams that had ostensibly already departed for vacation, but he showed enough to earn another shot at a roster spot.
The Rockets have four centers on their roster with the addition of Fernando. Alperen Sengun appears the clear frontrunner for the starting spot, Marjanovic remains a trade candidate, and Usman Garuba, a first-round pick in 2021, appears destined for a roster spot. Fernando will have to beat out Marjanovic or hope for trade to make it through training camp.