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.
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.