“I thought his defense has been great,” Pierce said. “He’s very active, not always in the right spot, but he can make up for it. That’s a skill in and of itself for the guys in this league. … He had five (missed) 3’s in the game, never really got in rhythm. We’ll be alright with him. I’m more encouraged with what he’s able to do defensively and how much ground he’s able to cover.”
Fernando struggled in his debut vs. the Pelicans, tallying four points, three rebounds and four turnovers. But he looked much sharper Wednesday, pulling down six rebounds to go with five points (including a 3-pointer) and zero turnovers.
“You know when you go to a new job your first day and you try to impress your boss, your coworkers and everybody?” Fernando said. “It’s kind of like you don’t want to allow yourself to make a mistake. I think that was what it was with me first game. As soon as I got on the court, it’s kind of like I tried to rush myself into everything, trying to be perfect, not allowing myself to make a mistake.”
The biggest thing for Fernando, who has the potential to become a good passer, is to stay centered and communicate more.
“Bruno’s doing well,” Pierce said. “He’s starting to talk, breathing when he’s on the court. He made a couple great passes today out of the pick-and-roll. John (Collins is) the guy you see finishing on the pick and roll, Bruno’s the guy you’re going to see passing. He’s got a really good ability to kick out.”
As far as Hunter?
As Pierce puts it, “De’Andre is De’Andre.” Hunter has looked the most comfortable and regular-season game-ready so far, and has shown he’s not just a 3-point shooter and defensive-minded player. He’s indicated he can put the ball on the floor and get to the rim, with the build (6-foot-7, 225 pounds) to battle bigger defenders.
Hunter has added 11.5 points per game (55.6% from the field), with 3.5 rebounds and two assists.
“It’s just a matter of getting experience,” Hunter said. “From the first game, it’s your first time out there, my first time playing a game in a while, so just tried to be comfortable. Second game, you have a little bit more (comfort), you know the plays more, with what the team likes to run, so just overall you’re more comfortable.”
The Hawks play their third exhibition game 7:30 p.m. Monday in Miami. The Hawks’ final two exhibition games will come Wednesday in New York and Thursday in Chicago before opening the regular season at 7 p.m. Oct. 24 in Detroit.