Ed’s Note: This is a guest post from Atique Virani, who wrote for RR previously and was on a podcast as well.

It’s not a stretch to suggest that the Raptors made the most shocking pick of the 2014 NBA Draft on Thursday. With the 20th pick, they selected a young gentleman named Bruno Caboclo from Brazil, a prospect almost no one knew anything about, and certainly not one expected to be taken that high. As soon as the pick was made, Raptors fans and media members went into overdrive, trying to find out more about this mysterious player, as well as trying to figure out why he was taken so early.

Raptors GM and resident apostle Masai Ujiri apparently had good reason to supposedly reach for Bruno, as ESPN’s Marc Stein later tweeted that there was a chance Caboclo would’ve been taken by the time Toronto’s first 2nd round pick rolled around. As for Caboclo’s actual basketball ability, little is known. Most of the information on him comes from DraftExpress’s video scouting report, which only shows footage from a single game, a game where Caboclo happened to perform well. A few tidbits can be gleaned from the tape, along with various grainy YouTube videos detailing other moments of playing time Caboclo received throughout his time in the Brazilian pro leagues.

Also Read: It’s Time To Embrace Toronto’s Oddball Drafts
Also Read: Bruno Caboclo the Latest Raptors Draft Pick to Raise Eyebrows, Which is Cool

The first thing to strike you is the insane length of Bruno’s arms. He’s supposedly got a 7’7” wingspan, and a height of just 6’8”, and the disparity between the two is starkly evident. When you see his arms, before you see him actually handle a basketball, it’s easy to see why the ridiculous Kevin Durant comparisons happened. There’s something distinctly familiar about Caboclo’s gangliness. During gameplay, however, the similarities between the youngster from Brazil and the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player vanish.

Caboclo shows none of the ball-handling skills or vision that have separated Durant from other transcendent scorers. and in fact his offensive game is limited, even in the shallow pool of Brazilian professional basketball. Caboclo is capable of dunking with those long arms, and he’s got a surprising stroke from behind the arc that belies his awkward length, and every once in a while, he’ll make a straight line drive to the rim to attack a closeout, dribbling once or twice the entire time. Otherwise, he’ll swing the ball around the perimeter and refuse to overextend himself. It’s on defense where most of his potential lies.

Watching highlights of his defensive plays, it’s easy to project a defensive terror who erases passing lanes and shots without discretion, but fans must pump the brakes. Bruno is not even 19 years old, and as such, knows next to nothing about the defensive nuances of the NBA. Some players never learn these nuances. For even the best, becoming smart, effective defenders takes time. Right now, Caboclo is neither of these things, as evidenced by his paucity of playing time in Brazil. What he is, is an extremely long player, one who’s still growing, with a wide frame that seems capable of adding weight, and with all the athleticism an NBA big man would need.

It will be up to Raptors fans to temper their expectations regarding Caboclo. Yes, he’s seemingly overflowing with potential. But he’s also incredibly raw. Odds are slim that he’ll ever reach his potential. But at #20, that’s not so bad. What we know for sure is that Masai Ujiri has swung big with this pick. Now we’ve got to wait and see if the ball clears the fences.

  • Amigo

    GM FOR DUMMIES

    You could have tanked for Wiggins or Jabari Parker and S&T Lowry for some value to fit into your team. So no playoff but a strong long term strategy.

    Much better watching Paul Pierce block, Lowry walk, Patterson walk and so on. But Cabloco ! Bingo !

    • Copywryter

      To be fair the 76ers tanked for them and landed neither.

    • moderate_observer

      how bad would you have to be to get the top 2 picks? Sixers lost 26 straight and still couldnt be in last place and couldnt get 1st pick. Cavs didnt tank and they have 1st place. Losers tank. Losers are always losers, as the last few seasons have showed us. The Bucks got Parker, but who would want to trade their team for the Bucks last year, the team almost got sold and moved. I don’t think they were tanking, they were just horrible.

      • Schemp

        They did get Embiid though, so Philly didn’t miss out on the top 3 talents. He will prob miss the entire season, but he’s a huge talent/upside guy. I do agree that Tanking doesn’t guarantee anything though, philly could have easily missed getting any of those three.

        • moderate_observer

          I do know, that no professional athlete goes on the court to lose, you don’t get to be an elite athlete if you are not competitive. So to expect this Raptors squad to ruin their careers by losing would be ridiculous. Losing to help the team find their replacements at that. If the raps wanted to tank, there is no way they could have accomplished that with guys the quality of DeRozan and Lowry so they would have had to strip the whole team of whatever talent there is, For what exactly? A slight chance of landing one guy who is still in college who ‘may’ become great NBA player. Only a DUMMY GM would do that. I’m calling it, many of the lottery teams this year will be a lottery team next year as well. Sixers, Bucks even in a weak east, and probably the Cavs (it really comes down to how good this new coach will be).

          • DC

            When tanking doesn’t work for teams that tank, advocates of tanking will blame it on poor management or coaching.

  • Birdman

    Did this guy really just write all this analysis from a DX scouting video and some grainy YouTube highlights??? I’ll wait till I watch an actual game.

    • Tinman

      The guys are giving us what they can. You seemed to be lined up waiting for the info.
      I compare this pick to the Jonas one, except we get to dictate where he plays from day 1. Jonas was committed to Europe. He’s not yet 19. Let our coaches work with him.
      I no next to nothing about this kid, but I like the pick.

  • DerekHologram

    In which coming decade do you see the @Raptors finally being done their rebuilding effort and turning to picks that can help in the short term?

    • jakdripr

      Are you seriously expecting short term help from the 20th pick in any draft? Most of the time it takes the top picks years to fully develop, much less the 20th pick. If you want immediate help you go to free agency, the draft is meant to find long term help.

      • DerekHologram

        Are you saying not one of the 40 players selected after 19 this year will make a contribution in the next 4 years?

        • jakdripr

          Never said that, you said “short term”, I interpreted that as next season. 4 years down the line only God knows how this crop of players will develop, but I can certainly see our pick developing into something impressive in 4 years.

          • DerekHologram

            What evidence do you base that judgement on?

            • jakdripr

              His skill set, he’s got the length and athleticism to become something special in the nba. But like I said prior to that, only God knows how these players are going to develop, so I tend to not bother myself trying to predict, and just let shit unfold.

              • DerekHologram

                You just said “I can certainly see our pick developing into something impressive in 4 years.” That is quite a prediction for someone who doesn’t predict.

                • jakdripr

                  Twas an educated guess, but I full acknowledge that I could be wrong. Either way this conversation doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, so as you were.

                • DerekHologram

                  If “doesn’t seem to be going anywhere” means there is little chance of me agreeing with you your intuition is correct.

                  See ya.

                • Ryan

                  What was the point of reinforcing the fact that you disagree with jakdripr? Just curious, it seemed unnecessarily contrary and sort of a childish way of saying “You’re wrong! AND I’m gonna have the last word!!”

                • DerekHologram

                  No idea what you are talking about but I can tell you that insults are a very childish way of communicating so perhaps you were simply engaging in self projection.

                • Ryan

                  Your comment right above. Again, what was the point? It’s needlessly discourteous, and I agree, that is a very childish choice of discourse.

        • Clark

          Caboclo will easily make a contribution within 4 years

    • Benjamin

      How many 20th picks do you see capable of helping “in the short term”? Late first rounders have more often than not turned out to just be role players on the 10th spots on their rosters, if they even manage to stay in the NBA. We could have drafted a guy that could develop into that role for us in 2 years or so, but Ujiri decided to draft a guy that could potentially be more than that in 3 years. I’ve seen you post on this site too many times, and I know you’re just an always negative kind of guy. What’s the point? If you don’t like the Raptors then just stay clear of them. For the record, 3 of our last 4 first rounders turned out to help our team. Derozan, Valanciunas, Ross. You have a convoluted view of what draft picks can do straight out of the gate.

      • DerekHologram

        So let me get your “logic” straight, anyone I might have preferred they pick at 20 will be lucky to make it to role player status, given history, but your guy at 20 will probably end up being a star?

        Is that right?

        • Benjamin

          When did I say “probably”? We don’t know what the chances are. We just know that it’s a “go big or go home” type of pick. If he doesn’t pan out, so what? It’s just a 20th pick. If he does pan out, he’s a steal. He most likely won’t be the Brazilian Kevin Durant, but the Brazilian Nicolas Batum doesn’t seem so bad and seems like a more likely thing. Right now he’s more like a Brazilian Giannis Antetokounmpo with a jumpshot, and honestly that isn’t too shabby. Most teams just didn’t know about him, and the ones that did would have picked him before we got him at 37 according to league sources.

          • DerekHologram

            I don’t understand what makes him even potentially a star, if not probably. It is just propaganda put together to justify a total screw up. However, I guess we have to live with it now and hope for better when the next great draft comes around, 10 years from now.

            • Benjamin

              How can drafting someone just be a screw up? It’s not like they sit in front of a computer and click on who they want and go “woops didn’t mean to click him. fuck I screwed up.” They have their favourites on a board and when it’s their turn they choose the best guy left on their board. This isn’t propaganda. We’re talking about a guy who is 6’9″ with a 7’7″ wingspan who’s only 18 years old and has only been playing since he was 13. He’s athletic, has lateral quicks, and can shoot 3 pointers. I don’t have much to go by but by the looks of things he also has decent defensive instincts to block shots with his ridiculous length. Another thing? He’s a gym rat and thinks basketball 24/7. He’s done all of this while growing up in a poor family in Brazil. If that’s not potential then you’re going to need to redefine the word for yourself.

              • DerekHologram

                If the supporters of this decision want to be logically consistent with their own arguments they have to explain what unique potential this kid has, over and above and separate from, the potential the 40 other prospects we ignored don’t.

                • IMO

                  Sorry how many of the other prospects after our pick had 7’7 wingspan and was only 6’9? Physical attributes are signs of potential. Chances are in the upper echelon of talent in the NBA, there are clear physical tools that differentiate them from the rest of the league. Does this mean he will reach that echelon? No, but he has a chance and this is potential.

                • DerekHologram

                  Tavares has a 7’10 wingspan. Why does Caboclo have more poetential than him? Grant and McDaniels were also praised for their wingspan given their height.

                • Benjamin

                  Caboclo has more athleticism than Tavares. And the point is that Caboclo’s wingspan is ridiculous for his position, which is at small forward. A guy with those measurements and still capable of quick movement is intriguing even without the fact that he can shoot. I admit I liked McDaniels as well, and the Raptors scouts have said that they were interested in him. I guess they just see Caboclo as a guy that has showed a knack for certain things, which indicates that he could be a good all-around advanced stats guy like Nicolas Batum. McDaniels is limited enough in his offence that I guess he was one notch down the ladder. As for Grant, I’ve indicated my distaste for a guy like him before. His jumpshot is broken to the point where it may never develop, similar to MKG. He’s a tweener that can’t do anything outside the paint, and his perimeter defence is pretty shoddy but was covered up last year due to Syracuse’s zone defence. He’s more suited for the power forward position, which he’s undersized for. Honestly, it’s really just how you see their potential. I can’t show you what I see because it’s a lot of intangibles, and I can’t really define potential. Just the fact that he has all these physical tools despite his limitation via age, location, financial situation, lack of coaching. We can accelerate his learning curve by coaching him in-house and make sure he’s getting the proper growth he needs. Ujiri is already having a weight-training program laid out for him, and add in some proper nutrition for the first time and this guy could be a physical beast. By the sounds of if you haven’t seen the guy play, although to be fair we have very little material to go by. I implore you to wait til you see him play in Summer League or something before you pass judgement. It’s way to early for you to write him off to the point where you sound unreasonable. Ujiri scouted him for a long time through Basketball Without Borders, which is more than any of us can say about any player anywhere. Also, it’s just a 20th pick, not a lottery pick. I can imagine you probably had the same reaction when JV was drafted and look how that turned out.

                • DerekHologram

                  I mentioned Tavares because a previous reply seem to suggest that wingspan is what makes him special, gifted more than any other player from 20 on with potential. One of the things I like about McDaniels is we actually have some data on him. We know what his strengths and weaknesses are because we have actually seen him. I supported the JV pick for the same reason. There was lots of information available if you wanted to access it. This new guy, on the other hand, is a complete shot in the dark which seems like incredibly risky and reckless behaviour for a number 1 pick in a good year.

                • Benjamin

                  It’s a shot in the dark for us because we don’t have access to him like Ujiri and his scouts do. If you’re not ok with not knowing everything that’s not a good enough reason to write Caboclo off. It’s an arrogant mindset. If you just wait until you get more info on him you might change your perception of him, and your impatience does nobody any favours. He’s here now so either you continue to be the negative-minded being that you are or you hold off on your negativity until you have a legitimate point.

                • DerekHologram

                  I guess if you don’t have a rational argument to make the next best thing is launching a personal attack. I will try not to attack you personally, just because I don’t buy any of your arguments.

                • Benjamin

                  Are you going to deny that your stance on the matter is very negative? It’s not a personal attack, it’s an observation. You’re choosing not to accept any of the arguments presented to you because it opposes what you believe about a guy you don’t have any information about. It’s not my job to sell you arguments, I do it because I, like many of your responders, believe you to be irrational in your negativity. If you seriously can’t take a step back and actually consider what I’m saying about the guy instead of flying off the handle about what you think is a slight on you as a person, then I can’t say anything further to you on the matter. You’re becoming known on this site for being negative about everything to do with the Raptors. Fans support their guys, so what are you going to do? Criticize every move they make in the offseason right after their Atlantic Division title run? If you can’t think glass half full for once then I won’t bother arguing with you any more.

                • DerekHologram

                  As I said above I have no intention of lowering myself to personal attack, just because someone has a different perception of reality than I do. If you think it is necessary to attack me to support your argument I would submit to you it is because you are not real confident in your position and hope to shore it up by painting those who differ with a negative brush.

                • Benjamin

                  It’s not a matter of confidence in my position at all. You’re posting negative comments on a forum are you not? I’m just wrapping up this silly argument because one of us can’t keep an open mind and resorts to using negative thinking. Go ahead and call what I’m saying a personal attack, because I don’t care how you interpret it. All I’ve ever done is give our team the benefit of the doubt until I see fit to do otherwise, while others like you do the opposite. If you can’t see the glass as half full then you’ll never see what the other supportive fans and I see in Caboclo. That’s my point. But you choose to only see it as an insult. So be it. I’m done.

                • DerekHologram

                  It is very obvious that you are using a personal attack to try and denigrate my position. The impliction is my position is solely the result of having a negative attitude. There couldn’t possibly be any merit to my argument because it is all based on a black mood. I’m surprised you haven’t asked me if I have stopped beating my wife yet? If you are incapable of defending your position on a logical, fact based, playing field and prefer ad hominem or other fallacious forms of argument, to reason, I am definitely not the right person to argue with.

                • Ryan

                  If anything you’re building up a straw man out of Benjamin’s words and completely ignoring the actual point he put forth, and you have the nerve to bring up ad hominem? How about addressing the valid points that were made throughout the series of posts instead of singling out some unrighteously perceived insult and harping on it?

                • DerekHologram

                  I did address the points and it is not my fault if someone chooses irrational techniques to try and buffer their argument. Your snide remarks add nothing to the conversation either, in case you were harboring any illusions along that line.

                • Ryan

                  His techniques aren’t “irrational” just because you choose not to recognize them. And if my comments were “snide” as you say, it’s remarkable you thought enough of them to reply. In case you were harboring any illusions that you were making anything close to a coherent point, allow me to illuminate you: you weren’t.

                • Greg

                  Not to mention already possesses a solid shooting touch with those attributes.

            • will2010

              The Spurs in 2010’s draft (which many people at the time was considered to be deep) picked James Anderson at the 20th pick. Chad Ford would give the Spurs and B+ praising Anderson as “one of the most dominant scoring, NBA-ready players in the draft in Anderson”, while SI.com noted his consistent college scoring who has a NBA-ready jump shot. Anderson average 3.6 points and 11 minutes per game in his rookie season after which he was released but eventually resigned with the Spurs where he played until last season when he picked up by the 76ers when he was waived by the Spurs. The reason that the Raptors picked Caboclo is his freakishly long wingspan. He may not amount to anything but that’s true for all the safe picks. If he only meets half of his potential he could become a strong defensive specialist who plays regular minutes, and that’s all you can ask for from a late 1st round pick. If he reaches his full potential well the sky’s the limit.

  • Schemp

    This article is based solely on the draft express video available on YouTube…

  • Copywryter

    More likely to be Solomon Alibi than Batum. The Durant comparisons are ridiculous.

    It does speak to Masai’s evaluation of the team, though. If he felt that the Raptors were a nudge away from the second round of the playoffs he would not have swung so hard or would have taken a poorer deal to land Ennis.

  • aaron.in.toronto

    I’m not sure I agree with with some of what was said…. When they play and shoot he looks just like kd and he even said that’s who he models his play after just because he is no where near that level doesn’t mean that the similarities vanish… Also not sure if most of his potential is on d….

  • moderate_observer

    Send him to Europe for a few years. Thats how the spurs do it.

  • Alex Vostrikov

    caboclo is raw. and you know what, there are another million plus young kids who block 5’9 semi-pro players.
    said it before, and will say it again….. even if spurs where interested, it doesn’t mean anything. their system makes most of the players look good. they can take scrub bench wormer from the raps, and turn a valuable piece out of him. which they do all the time.
    I know its only few videos of him, but on all of them, he plays against shorter, weaker players.

    • ZZ

      “they can take scrub bench wormer from the raps, and turn a valuable piece out of him. which they do all the time.”

      I love the Spurs, and I would agree if you said that they can take a role player and turn him into a starter.

      But a scrub bench warmer? Austin Daye was a scrub benchwarmer on the Raptors and is still a scrub benchwarmer on the Spurs!

      • Alex Vostrikov

        in general, their team is build that way. they add role players,….. guys who are un-used on other teams. they don’t have new starters for some time now.
        ‘raps’ were just an example in general. what I meant, get players from none playoff teams and etc….
        now, don’t kill me on the comment “none playoff teams”. raps were exactly that just 6 mnts ago. and who know what we have now… or will have IF lowry leaves. which he will if choice is between miami’s 8 mil to Toronto’s 11-12mil.
        what happened last year, was great to watch…. most fun I head since carter years. but its silly to consider it anything more than luck. masai was planning to tank big time… and exchanged big salary player for 4 pcs…. with 3 of them expiring. TO SAVE MONEY.
        and we end up watching the best basketball in a while…. LOL

  • FAQ

    “shocking pick”?… or… stupid pick?!

  • Truth Teller

    The same people who complain every draft are the ones who complain how they passed on all-stars in previous drafts.

  • Clark

    talk about being pessimistic.. this kid could be special and the draft is a crapshoot anyways. good on Masai for picking him at 20 if he feels he was the guy once Ennis was gone. remember this post when, in three years, Bruno is a monster full of potential.

  • kimmy

    “Now we’ve got to wait and see if the ball clears the fences.”

    I’m not even sure if Masai makes contact with the ball on this swing…