The last player we’re going to look at in our prospecting series is also the only player on our list born outside of North America. And while Switzerland is not necessarily the first, or fifteenth, place you’d think to look for NBA prospects, Clint Capela would not be the first Swiss player to make it in the NBA (Oklahoma City’s Thabo Sefolosha).

Capela is the type of player that will either become a sleeper in the draft and fulfill his potential, or be out of the league in five years. For guys like this, there is generally not much middle ground.

Physically, Capela has all the tools. He’s got the height and length to play center (7’4.5 wingspan) and the mobility to play power forward. And while he definitely needs to add strength, he looks like he has the type of frame that will fill out. A player that Capela could be compared to is a young Serge Ibaka. They certainly share the same physical tools, and Capela, like Ibaka before he made the move to the NBA, is an offensively raw player who has the most potential on the defensive end.

One thing to like about Capela besides his size and athleticism, is that he seems to enjoy mixing it up underneath the basket. He doesn’t have the strength to be able to push guys around much, but that’s not for lack of trying. If he’s able to gain strength, his love of contact will be a huge plus.

And despite Capela’s lack of strength, he was able to shoot an impressive 63.5% from the field in the French league, this past season, and an astounding 71.8% in the Eurocup.

Of course, most of Capela’s shots were close to the basket since he’s got very little range and not much ability to create shots on his own. He’s got no post moves to speak of and his poor free throw shooting attests to his struggles with his jumpshot (55% in French league and Eurocup combined).

Capela’s biggest weaknesses, though, are his basketball IQ and an inconsistent motor. Capela’s lack of basketball IQ can be seen on both the defensive end, where he’ll often be out of position, but also on the offensive end, where he’ll turn the ball over and take bad shots.

He’ll also go through periods when he seems like he’s coasting. For a guy with his athleticism, he should beat his man up the court every single time, but he doesn’t. He doesn’t appear lazy, but more lacking in focus, which could be a symptom of youth.

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If the Raptors draft Capela, it won’t be because he’s such a good fit for the team. Yes, they definitely could use his interior defense, but he’s not going to help space the floor at all, and I’m not sure whether he would be able to share the floor with both Jonas Valanciunas and DeMar DeRozan until he adds some range to his shot, which could be a while.

Still, he probably has as much upside as anyone the Raptors could find at 20, and in the end a team in the position the Raptors are in need as much value from their pick as possible.

On Tuesday, we’re going to review all the players that will likely be available for the Raptors to choose and figure out the best picks, worst picks and even the most likely picks, in anticipation of the NBA Draft on the 26th.

  • Paul Stevens

    Got really good speed. Low basketball IQ, or a lack of understanding of the fundamentals? Big difference. Shooting can be taught. Not enough jumpshots in the clip to tell if he has a good shot and lousy aim, or poor release or what.

    • Benjamin

      Low bball IQ and lack of fundamentals… There really isn’t much of a difference at the end of the day. Either way, he’ll be hardpressed to learn on the fly against the big boys in the NBA.

      • bballi bballi paradise

        This, and Masai has said that a low IQ and questionable motor are two red flags for him.

    • OakTree

      Well, there’s different kinds of basketball IQs. Capela definitely has good timing on his blocks, and he rebounds well. I don’t think he’ll ever be a play maker on offense, though. He has outstanding length and quickness for his size, so that can make up for reaction times that are maybe a little behind the curve. I think he looks pretty good for his experience level.

      I have a hard time seeing Capela as a complete bust with the tools he has. Even if he never completely figures it out he’ll bounce around a few teams as a role player.

      …Some of his blocks are so so dirty. His highlight reel is awesome. I would love to see some of those highlight reel blocks from someone in a Raptors uniform.

  • Matteemo

    He’s a project type with a pretty high ceiling, it will take patience, the right system and a lot of hard work on his part for him to reach it though. I’d rather is not gamble on him and take someone who is more NBA ready instead, even if it means we take someone with a lower ceiling.

  • Rap fan 2

    That’s a great point you make here. A lot of players chosen later in the draft are no longer in the league after a few years. There’s got to be some intangible skill or quality that accounts for the players that are still around and do make a good career in the NBA. Perhaps it has to do with work ethic, drive and tenacity, level of stubbornness, being a gym rat, player support and development ecology and environment, motor. Such a player comes to mind who just won another championship is Manu Ginobili. Now a four time champ. He was selected 57th in the 1999 NBA draft by the Spurs. That’s pretty late in the draft. A big sleeper or simply being the right fit for a great organization? Going to play with arguably the best power forward of all time and one of the best coaches of all time probably works into the calculation here.

  • OakTree

    One other strength that wasn’t mentioned is how good he is with both his left and right hand around the rim. He’s not just shooting 70% on dunks, he gets a lot of tips and has some real finesse when finishing.

    I really like him as an Amir Johnson type down the road – a mobile defender at the 4, can spend some time at 5, great in the pick and roll. Like a lot of prospects it will be about his work ethic and the team/system he ends up in.

    I think he’ll be off the board by 20. I could easily see him going to Chicago or Phoenix.

  • keith

    I actually think you guys need to watch this tape. http://www.draftexpress.com/video/8860/

    It breaks down his strengths and weaknesses. The two things that I like about him that I think WILL fit our Raps is he is excellent in pick and roll offense (I recall that works well with Vasquez and Lowry both) and he has agility good enough to cover multiple positions on defense. I think he could stay in front of KD once he develops a bit more. He is said to be like Serge Ibaka when he first came to the NBA. I think he is built more like KD but with Ibaka’s skill set. If he ever learns a decent range shot, he could be a big time sleeper. Development or not, I think he is worthy of the Raps to take.

    If the Raps draft him, they wouldn’t need to keep both 2Pat and Amir, which could free up some money. Then if they could trade back into the first (offer money to Miami for theirs), they could get a backup PG behind Lowry or a defensive SF like Grant. Then get shooting in the second round or in FA.

  • Alex Vostrikov

    Player like him, “with high IQ”, doesn’t need to shoot beyond 10 ft. all he needs is good system to develop in. we will find out about the iq part ones he is in the league.
    problem is, casey doesn’t give much of a chance to young players… they all get punished for any mistakes. not a way to develop talent.
    he needs to slip down the draft, and get on a good team… then watch out