(Originally posted at VinteUm)
Bruno Caboclo logged just 87 official minutes last season – 23 with the Toronto Raptors and 64 with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
When the Canadian franchise surprised everyone by drafting him 20th overall in 2014, ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla classically opined “he’s two years away from being two years away”. After that, there was already an idea Caboclo would see very little time on the court at the highest level.
But the fact he also played very little in the D-League as well was very disappointing. That was the case because Toronto was one of the teams that did not have their own D-League affiliate e depended on Fort Wayne for assignments. Differently than what happens with affiliates, where the focal point is developing players, coaches and strategies for the mother ship, the Mad Ants stay alive by attracting support from the region and does so by trying to win. Therefore, they play who they think gives them the best chance to win and the 19-year-old Brazilian who barely had any experience in the Brazilian league didn’t meet that criteria.
The good news is that Toronto just purchased a D-League franchise for next season already, which is going to provide Caboclo all the playing time he needs to start trying to reach the potential everyone sees in him, which will be vital because it’s very probable he will once again not be a part of Dwane Casey’s plans for next season.
The Raptors just signed DeMarre Carroll and still have DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross, James Johnson and Norman Powell on the roste. Even with the departures of Lou Williams, Greivis Vasquez (Casey liked having two point guards on the floor some) and rumors the rumors that they will be more aggressive playing small, it’s still difficult to see Caboclo as a rotation player.
Especially considering that he didn’t impress very much in last week’s summer league. It’s generally expected for first-round picks to show a jump in performance heading into their second years, which can sometimes be seen starting at summer league already. Giannis Adetokunbo still isn’t much of anything, but he was nonetheless a rotation player on a playoff team, and started showing last summer league what was about to come in 2014-2015. But that wasn’t the case with Caboclo, who was inefficient with his shots and also didn’t have many chances to show a wider skill-set than what was expected.
At this point, what Caboclo does the most is take outside shots. He’s a good athlete, but didn’t play in the open court a whole lot. Most of his touches came in the half-court, where he almost always stood on the weak-side, without an active role in shot creation against a set defense. Cabloco was purely a spot-up shooter and 63% of his shots were three-point shots.
Caboclo has good mechanics but is a bit methodical on his release and that split-second makes a difference against the best players in the world – even those working hard to find jobs as the 15th men on rosters. At this point, Caboclo is still mostly an open-shot shooter than one able to shoot a decent percentage with defenders closing out to him, missing 26 of his 36 three-point shots last week.
Caboclo had some opportunities to attack closeouts and create off a live dribble but lacks explosiveness and rarely created separation. He did get to the rim and drew shooting fouls with some success thanks to his six-foot-nine, 212-pound frame, though. He has long strides, going from the wing to the rim in two dribbles and two steps.
Caboclo converted 10 of his 21 two-point shots and averaged 4.6 foul shots per 36 minutes – both promising marks. That said, his ball-handling is so-so and his feel for the game is very poor, as he logged just four assists in five games and 11 turnovers.
Due to his size and length, it is expected Caboclo will develop into an above average defender. But as now he is not much of anything. In isolation, Caboclo is able to contain dribble penetration by players his own size but struggled to stay in front of smaller players.
Guarding the pick-and-roll, he struggled going over screens and recovering with quickness. Maybe Caboclo is too big to be effective sliding over and might be best suited to go under and use his length to challenge potential pull-ups.
Caboclo also had some lapses that would cost him playing time in any environment other than summer league. At one point, he just decided to go to the rim with two other Raptors close to the basket and left Doug McDermott completely open in the corner. The ball eventually got to McDermott, who missed but shouldn’t be taking that shot in the first place.
Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Upside & Motor, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara