Instant Impact: Young Celtics Duo Stake Their Claim

Bruno Fernando, Boston Celtics

Getty Bruno Fernando of the Boston Celtics.

Bruno Fernando and Sam Hauser led the way as the Maine Celtics took their early-season record to 5-1 with a 86-79 victory over the Capital City Go-Go’s.

The Boston Celtics acquired Fernando during the summer as part of the three-team trade that saw Tristan Thompson head to the Sacramento Kings during the off-season. Fernando also spent time with the Celtics Summer League team in Las Vegas during their run to the finals, impressing with his energy and rim-rolling ability.

Alas, despite Fernando’s high-energy performances for Joe Mazzulla’s team, he has been unable to crack the rotation and earn much playing time on an NBA floor through the Celtics’ first 15 games. With Al Horford, Robert Williams, and Enes Kanter all ahead of Fernando in the team’s center rotation, it’s hard to envision the young big-man getting any minutes outside of garbage time.

As such, the former Atlanta Hawks backup center has found himself spending time in Maine, where he’s been a dominant force. Maine’s season is still young, and Fernando has only been with the team briefly, yet, in his first two games for the Celtics G-League affiliate, the third-year big has averaged 8.5 points, 11 rebounds, and a block in 19.8 minutes of playing time.

In his most recent game for the Maine Celtics, Fernando dropped a double-double, notching 13 points and 14 rebounds, with five of his boards coming on the offensive end. Alas, despite his excellent play in the G-League, Fernando still finds himself coming off the bench, as he plays second-fiddle to another former Boston Celtics player in Luke Kornet, who is also trying to work his way back into the NBA.

Undrafted Sniper Sam Hauser Leads the Way

Sam Hauser has been excellent in his first foray into the world of G-League basketball and is averaging 18.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 5.2 assists over his first five games, per G-League Stats.

With the Celtics struggling to score from beyond the arc in their young season, Hauser has continued to develop a body of work that may become of interest to head coach Ime Udoka. Averaging 9 attempts per game, Hauser is converting on 44.4% of his long-range shots and shooting 88.9% from the line.

During Hauser’s final collegiate season, with the Virginia Cavaliers, he fell short of a 50/40/90 season by 0.1% from the free-throw line, something which he’s currently repeating in Maine. After five games, the rookie sniper averages 50.8% from the field, 44.4% from three, and 88.9% at the line, as he continues to acclimate himself to the increased talent level the G-League has to offer.

Boston should take notice of how Hauser is getting his shots off and possibly look to incorporate him into their rotation when he’s with the team. Hauser’s ability to shoot off screens or off the catch when spotting up will provide them with the spacing they desperately require.

The Celtics can also look around the league for players who have successfully made the jump from the G-League to the NBA. The most notable from a Celtics standpoint is Max Strus, who was highly impactful for the Miami Heat last season and earned a full NBA contract as a result.

Maine Consists of Multiple Former NBA Talents

Part of the Maine Celtics’ current success is due to the amount of former NBA players on their roster who have fallen out of the league for one reason or another. The G-League’s website lists the Maine Celtics roster as containing these former NBA guys;

  • Theo Pinson
  • Luke Kornet
  • Ryan Arcidiacono
  • Bruno Fernando

Along with the highly touted Hauser and Juwan Morgan, the team boasts one of the most competitive rotations within their league. Of course, many of this G-League roster won’t find their way back into the NBA via the Celtics, primarily due to the team’s incredible depth. However, most of them can sign contracts with other interested parties as the season progresses.

That’s life in the G-League; players get called up, others get sent down, and your job is to continue pushing forwards, trying to earn your shot at making a rotation somewhere.

For Hauser, he’s the most likely to make an impact on his current team due to his skill set being something they’re sorely lacking, but for everybody else, they will be hoping their stay in Maine is a short one.




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