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Old 08-01-2014, 12:14 PM   #1
Legends66NBA7
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Thumbs up How the Raptors found — and fell in love with — Bruno Caboclo

http://www.si.com/nba/2014/08/01/bru...rs-masai-ujiri


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Cobbling together mock drafts is an inexact science. For most mock drafters -- this one included -- projecting a 30-player first round requires a combination of exhaustive reporting, scouting and, frankly, guesswork. But even then, it’s a challenge. Team executives are, understandably, guarded about talking about which players they like; agents, whose sole responsibility is to improve a player’s draft position, can be misleading; and sometimes what you think a team needs in the draft, well, it doesn’t line up with what the team thinks. —

Still, in the days before the draft the top 30-35 players start to crystallize. Successfully predicting most of the order is exceedingly difficult, particularly when one pick can completely shuffle the deck. Take Kentavius Caldwell-Pope. In 2013, Minnesota was locked in on Caldwell-Pope with the ninth overall pick... right up until Detroit snatched him up one spot earlier. The scrambling Timberwolves then drafted Trey Burke (who they didn’t really need) and proceeded to flip him to Utah for the rights to Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng.

No one could have predicted that sequence of events, of course. But Caldwell-Pope, Burke, Muhammad and Dieng were all first-round picks and all drafted in the general area they were expected to. There are risers and fallers in every draft but it’s not often a first rounder totally stuns you. Rarely does a pick make you scratch your head and ask, ‘Who?’

A pick like Toronto’s Bruno Caboclo.

Dwane Casey remembers the first time he heard of Caboclo. Sort of. It was early June and the Raptors coach, a month or so removed from a painful seven-game series defeat to Brooklyn and a few weeks past signing a three-year, $11.3 million extension with Toronto that took some of the sting off of it, was home, in Seattle, when Masai Ujiri buzzed his cell phone. I need you to come to Texas, Ujiri said. I need you to see this prospect we’re looking at.

OK, Casey said. Who?

I’ll tell you when you get here, Ujiri replied.

Ujiri swears he wasn’t trying to being secretive. He just wanted Casey to see the workout with a completely open mind. “I want my guys to have an opinion,” Ujiri told SI.com. “I don’t want to hype someone up. They see the kid and they make a judgement.”

Caboclo had been on Ujiri’s radar for almost a year. Last summer, Ujiri attended a Basketball Without Borders tournament. Caboclo was the MVP. “He was an intriguing athlete,” Ujiri said. “At that point, he was just someone to keep an eye on.” And he did. Over the last year Ujiri, Vice President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman, Director of Global Scouting Patrick Engelbrecht and scout Curtis Crawford made several trips to Brazil to see Caboclo. Each time, they left impressed.

“He was just a kid that loves to play,” Ujiri said. “He always seemed very focused. His ability, you can tell he had a good shot. Most young kids can’t figure out how to shoot. You could tell he had a chance to become a very good shooter.”

Defensively, Raptors execs love his potential. A wiry 6-foot-9 with a 7-6 wingspan, Caboclo covers a lot of ground. Ujiri recalls one practice where in a five minute span Caboclo registered five deflections. When Casey, an assistant coach with Seattle from 1994 to 2005, watched Caboclo work in Houston, images of a young Rashard Lewis flashed in his mind.

“He reminded me so much of Rashard,” Casey told SI.com. “Same lanky body, same raw talent. Rashard was probably a little better fundamentally at that age. But Bruno is a better three-point shooter. A lot of young guys can’t make the NBA three-pointer consistently. Bruno can.”

In Houston, Casey tested Caboclo’s ability to accept coaching. When he saw Caboclo hugging the three-point line on his shot, Casey suggested he give himself some space. Caboclo did. When Casey instructed Caboclo to use his forearm to defend in the post -- a technique used often by NBA players, less so by college and international prospects -- Caboclo spent the rest of the workout digging his skinny arms into the backs of offensive players.

Said Casey, “He was very receptive.”

As the draft approached, Toronto was sold on Caboclo. But where would they take him? The Raptors had two picks in the top 40, No. 20 and No. 37. They were high on Syracuse (and Canadian) point guard Tyler Ennis, according to multiple sources, and were hoping he slipped to No. 20. When Phoenix snapped up Ennis at No. 18, Toronto had a choice: Take someone else and roll the dice that Caboclo would be there in the second round or take him earlier than anyone anticipated.

Ujiri weighed several factors. First, he had a growing suspicion that someone was going to make a run at Caboclo early in the second round. Dallas, which picked 34th, was interested. Boston, which did not have a pick in the second round, was fascinated with Caboclo, too. And there wasn’t anyone on Toronto’s board that they felt overwhelmingly strong about. And with the Raptors roster well-stocked for the season, Ujiri believed the team could afford to take a chance on a player with such a high upside.

When Ujiri brought up the idea of drafting Caboclo at No. 20 in the Raptors war room, it was met with resounding support.

“In my room, there was no debate,” Ujiri said. “Instead of going through the stress of trying to get him at No. 37, we decided to get the guy we really liked now.”

Not surprisingly, the pick was met with widespread skepticism. Reporters started scouring Google for information. Social media exploded with some variation of ‘Bruno who?’ ESPN draft analyst Fran Fraschilla offered up the most memorable quote when he said Caboclo was “two years away from being two years away.” An overwhelming majority believed, in the first 24 hours, that the Raptors had reached too high with the pick.

At summer league though, opinions started to change. At 18, Caboclo is obviously raw. But there were flashes of potential. Privately, Toronto coaches didn’t expect Caboclo, in his first experience against NBA-caliber competition, to average more than a point or two. In five summer league games he averaged 11.4. His three-point shooting was so-so (30.8 percent) but Casey says he was impressed with his effectiveness from the corners. And both Casey and Ujiri cited Caboclo’s toughness and desire to go right back at a player that scored on him.

Caboclo will be a Raptor next season, a decision that has stirred even more debate. Europe has become an attractive option for teams to stash young players drafted in the late first or second round. The thinking is that a player can develop overseas for a few years before signing an NBA contract, giving teams, presumably, a more advanced player than the one they drafted without having to waste the first two years of a rookie contract. Caboclo, who averaged 4.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in 16 games last season playing for Pinheiros in Sao Paulo, would seem to be a prime candidate to take that route. Ujiri disagrees. He sees more value in keeping Caboclo close--primarily in Fort Wayne, with the Raptors D-League affiliate--where the team can closely monitor his development.

“When a guy goes overseas you don’t get to monitor him as closely, to see if he is getting stronger, to see all of what he is doing,” Ujiri said. “Keeping him here, we can do that. When he needs playing time, send him to the D-League. He can play in NBA practices, he can go through a training camp and after the year we will wait to see where he is and what more he needs to develop.”

Ujiri knows he is out on a limb here. The 2014 draft was one of the deepest in recent memory, and if rookies like Rodney Hood (who looked fantastic for stretches in summer league), Shabazz Napier or Kyle Anderson, all picked after Caboclo, turn into rotation players, the Raptors could look foolish. But Ujiri is convinced that what he saw in the gym in Brazil was real, that Caboclo, with a little coaching and a lot of muscle, can be molded into a star. The risk, Ujiri believes, could pay off with a huge reward.
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Old 08-01-2014, 12:59 PM   #2
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Default Re: How the Raptors found — and fell in love with — Bruno Caboclo

liked what i saw in SL.

don't disagree w/the logic of rolling the dice w/the 20th pick.

but using a roster spot this year & starting his "arbitration clock" in '14, could be a mistake.
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Old 08-04-2014, 10:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: How the Raptors found — and fell in love with — Bruno Caboclo

Still don't know what to think, 20 just seems too high still
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Old 08-11-2014, 12:29 PM   #4
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Default Re: How the Raptors found — and fell in love with — Bruno Caboclo

I - of course - ranted at - and against the pick.

Bruno who ? "Dear MLSE"

With a month or so to cool down I suppose that I am no longer so upset by the pick.

The off season moves including the trade with Atlanta, re-signings (Kyle, PP, Gervais), and Joe Johnson, have tempered my anger at "toying with home run displays" through the draft.

I mean lets be honest. Will Rodney Hood or Kyle Anderson actually contribute more in the next 2 seasons than Joe Johnson or Sweet Lou ? Highly unlikely.


However I am still miffed at the "toying with home runs philosophy".

We have debated constantly on this board how to build a consistent competitive team that maintains momentum season to season. In the NBA the model everyone can choose to follow is : (1) San Antonio (2) Miami or the big three concept. Most or all of the posters on this board seem to prefer the San An Model.

San An does not try to hit home runs in the draft. They don't reach for their picks. They pick at their spot the most talented player they can and mold them into a "Spur" over time with seasoning, exposure, and occasionally overseas play. They also move up the draft when they deem they have identified the guy they "need" (a'la Kahwi Leonard - 15th - Indiana Pacers) and are prepared to move down or trade the pick for another player they can mold (Goran Drajic, Tiango Splitter Nano De Colo).

I note that Hood, Anderson, or McDaniels are statisically more likely to be the sort of player noted above.

Its easy to say that Bruno had lots of interest from X , Y and Z but the fact is even those teams would be open to some deal to trade up or down if you felt there was a risk. If the Suns were really going to pick him at 25 - well you just had an aborted deal for Ennis go flat. I strongly suspect that the Raptors could have had Bruno anywhere with any team from 21 - 30 for "Kyle Anderson and a 2nd round pick in 2015". Few or no NBA teams are so devoted to a pick at 25 that no deal was possible

I could be very wrong in 5 years and look foolish for posting this. I accept that risk too...

..but reaching for a pick and not taking a "notional 20 talent in a deep draft" with an eye to developing a Raptor/Spur type player (aka Big Red - Mat Bonner drafted 43 overall by the Chicago Bulls) or trading the asset for a stockpile of other future assets is not the "San Antonio model".

Last edited by Jballer : 08-11-2014 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 08-12-2014, 12:07 AM   #5
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Default Re: How the Raptors found — and fell in love with — Bruno Caboclo

I remember when the grizzlies drafted this european big man and the draft day comments were "raw, 3 years from contributing" and then he would go on immediately averaging 18-8, 2 bpg, winning ROY, Pau Gasol.

After the summer league, I think there's a good chance the "2 years away from 2 years away" dude is gonna eat his word.
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Old 08-12-2014, 10:02 AM   #6
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Default Re: How the Raptors found — and fell in love with — Bruno Caboclo

Quote:
Originally Posted by bk33
I remember when the grizzlies drafted this european big man and the draft day comments were "raw, 3 years from contributing" and then he would go on immediately averaging 18-8, 2 bpg, winning ROY, Pau Gasol.

After the summer league, I think there's a good chance the "2 years away from 2 years away" dude is gonna eat his word.

A fair point...

But in deference... big men are always considered projects. Look at Val for projections and analysis.

The difference is Bruno is a swing man. Most swing men are generally projected to come in and have some impact. Demar et al.

The last project swing man that I can recall is Kobe drafted as a high schooler.
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Old 08-13-2014, 01:50 PM   #7
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Default Re: How the Raptors found — and fell in love with — Bruno Caboclo

I appreciate the Raptors for taking that risk. They are taking a risk on a guy with a 7'6 wingspan that can shoot. He's raw, but theres one thing that can take you far in the NBA and it is size.
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Old 08-16-2014, 07:07 PM   #8
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Default Re: How the Raptors found — and fell in love with — Bruno Caboclo

Here's a break down of his summer league play.
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Old 08-17-2014, 12:03 PM   #9
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Default Re: How the Raptors found — and fell in love with — Bruno Caboclo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Legends66NBA7
Here's a break down of his summer league play.

Is this a joke?...or did you forget to post the link?

I'm actually curious to know how he played in the summer league, haven't heard much.
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Old 08-17-2014, 02:08 PM   #10
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Default Re: How the Raptors found — and fell in love with — Bruno Caboclo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zan Tabak
Is this a joke?...or did you forget to post the link?

I'm actually curious to know how he played in the summer league, haven't heard much.

My bad, I forgot to post the link.

Here you go:


http://youtu.be/HucuLYUaecg
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Old 08-17-2014, 02:27 PM   #11
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Default Re: How the Raptors found — and fell in love with — Bruno Caboclo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Legends66NBA7
My bad, I forgot to post the link.

Here you go:


http://youtu.be/HucuLYUaecg
Awesome thanks man!
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Old 08-20-2014, 12:36 PM   #12
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Default Re: How the Raptors found — and fell in love with — Bruno Caboclo

Quote:
...Back in Toronto after stints in Vancouver & Las Vegas for workouts and basketball camps, Caboclo is serving as a guest counselor at the Americas Team Camp being held at Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Center.

...In addition to delivering a morning coaching session to the many coaches on hand to learn from the camp, Mahlalela put Caboclo through a workout that had younger campers gathering around the court to watch.

Referring to the success first-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan found in his fifth NBA season, Mahlalela credited the work ethic he has had since the first day he showed up in Toronto.

Oh it’s exceptional. This next season is going to be great because his learning curve is going to go up, it’s great. Every day this summer he’s gotten better. Pre-season and [regular] season, he’s going to get better every single day. He’s a sponge. He loves basketball. I can’t get him off the basketball court, which is good, such an amazing quality to have. He loves to work. It’s perfect.”
Quote:
After Las Vegas Summer League, Caboclo headed to Vancouver to work out with Raptors training staff members, Lucas Nogueira and DeAndre Daniels.

In between Vancouver and Toronto he headed back to Vegas to attend Tim Grgurich’s camp.

He’s an exceptional human being. Forget basketball player. To go through what he’s gone through, moving where he lived in Brazil to suddenly come to North America, be here this entire summer, Vancouver, New York, [Houston], Las Vegas, Rookie Transition Program, Tim Grgurich’s camp, [meet] all of our staff, media interviews, to be able to transition that and have a good calm head on his shoulders and smile his way through tells me he’s an amazing person.”

...Still waiting for the chance to get to spend some down time in Toronto after a whirlwind summer, the rookie is looking forward to learning more about his new city.

While Caboclo is already dreaming of one day winning a championship with the Raptors, his goal for this season is a simple one: “Help the team win.”
link

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