Drafted by: Toronto Raptors, No. 20 overall
Height/Weight: 6'9", 200 lbs
Age: 18 years old
Projected NBA Position: Small Forward
NBA Comparison: Giannis Antetokounmpo/Poor-man's Rashard Lewis
Twitter Handle: @Bruno_Caboclo
In perhaps the most surprising pick of the 2014 NBA Draft first round, the Toronto Raptors rolled the dice on the upside of Brazilian forward Bruno Caboclo.
The 18-year-old forward from Brazilian club Pinheiros won't set foot on the NBA floor anytime soon, but he's got intriguing athleticism and upside that could be cultivated over the next few years. He's got a 6'9" frame and tremendous open-floor agility.
In 2013 he won the NBA Basketball Without Borders MVP. With the right training, he could turn into a versatile, explosive two-way forward.
|Statistics at Pinheiros|
Caboclo is listed at 6'9", and his wingspan looks to be in the seven-foot range, so he's got plenty of length to play small forward and compete with the lengthier NBA wings.
He also runs the floor really well and has great body control when competing on both ends. When attacking the rim or contesting shots, his bounciness and vertical agility will allow him to finish above the crowd and make loads of plays defensively.
The downside to him physically, at this point, is his strength. His 200 pounds don't fill out his 6'9" frame, and he frequently allows bulkier players to impose their will and push him out of position.
That's part of his development process moving forward. He needs to add 25-30 pounds of muscle in order to operate as a truly effective slasher.
When opponents give him breathing room, he takes advantage by covering a ton of ground and swooping to the basket effortlessly. Caboclo is sneakily explosive, and once he elevates toward the hoop, his body control and long arms do the rest of the work.
He can glide end-to-end quite easily, filling the lanes on fast breaks or chasing down opponents for blocks. His overall agility and aerial prowess are comparable to the upper tier of athletes in the NBA.
In half-court scenarios, we see glimpses of his leaping ability when he makes straight-line drives or corrals a rebound. He also can stifle and overwhelm lesser athletes defensively.
When he pairs some polished skills with this athleticism, he'll be a dangerous asset.
He's got a lot to learn about situational awareness and team defense, but Caboclo is extremely promising on that side of the court.
Using his length and agility, he sticks with opponents and doesn't make life easy for them. He can keep slashing wings in front of him, and he can also challenge taller forwards at the rim when they attack the basket.
He averaged 2.3 blocks per 40 minutes for Pinheiros in 2013-14, which indicates he'll alter plenty of shots in the Association when he becomes more seasoned.
In three to five years, he will be a superb on-ball defender in the NBA once he learns the tricks of the trade.
Caboclo isn't the most fluid shooter off the dribble, and he probably won't create too many of his own jumpers in the near future.
In the meantime, he'll be a solid spot-up shooter. He shot 39 percent from distance in 2013-14, albeit on just 1.4 attempts per game. He shows a pretty discerning shot selection, and he's got a quick release that certainly looks workable.
Given the fact that he's 18 years old, his shooting ability is quite promising. Look for him to polish his delivery up and smooth it out over the next couple years, arriving into the league as a competent catch-and-shoot option.
Before we even get to basketball-specific concerns, it's important to note that he's young and he's an unknown commodity. He might not even wind up in the NBA, especially if his international playing career takes unexpected turns.
Fran Fraschilla noted during ESPN's broadcast of the draft that Caboclo is "two years away from being two years away, and then we'll see." That's a long time.
As far as hoops weaknesses go, he needs experience and knowledge, especially on the defensive side. Sometimes he's way out of position or loses track of the ball. He also frequently fails to stick with shooters away from the ball or exhibit proper weak-side positioning in half-court scenarios.
Offensively, he needs to tighten up his ball-handling skills considerably if he wants to create his own shot. In addition, it would be great if he ironed out his shooting delivery and raised his release point. His release is low and in front of his head, not unlike fellow Brazilian Leandro Barbosa.
As we touched on earlier, he's a long way from being ready to compete in the Association. He's not physically or mentally ready to play defense against NBA-caliber wings, nor is he polished enough to earn minutes as an offensive weapon.
That being said, whenever he does enter the league, he should be able to guard multiple positions and mix things up in transition. He'll also be able to shoot and attack close-outs in the five-on-five setting.
Due to his age, Caboclo's long-term outlook is difficult to project.
If he even comes close to his ceiling, however, he's going to be an exciting player who can slash, shoot and defend at a high level. He'll be able to stretch the floor, get to the basket with his ranginess and give the Raptors options defensively. He could potentially be a sixth man or key role player.
At worst, he's an athlete would bring energy to the rotation, turn heads in the open floor and use his length effectively on defense.
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