Raptors 57, Mavericks 88 – BoxForum Game Thread

Back in the old country I was once changing the tire on my bike, and one of loose spokes shot out, narrowly missing my eye. I considered myself a lucky man. Until I watched this game, which is what I imagine it would’ve felt like if that spoke was an inch to the left.

The Raptors summer league team has one pressing issue: it does not consist of a point guard that is willing to pass, though it’s possible there isn’t one in Vegas entirely. See, guys like Bruno Caboclo and Bebe Noguiera aren’t, yet anyway, players that can thrive in freelance and 1v1 situations, and need some help setting up. Nobody is quite willing to do that so you’ll undoubtedly come upon possessions, like it happened on Monday, where Caboclo is essentially launching pull-up threes because that’s really all he can do at this point in his young career.  Nine of his ten shots were threes and he ended up going 3-10 for 12 points including seven turnovers, which ranged from offensive fouls to dribbling off of his foot.

We saw him try to drive, in both directions surprisingly, and the results were far from impressive. He has the strides to get past his defender (which was Ivan Johnson at times) and runs into trouble quickly when he has a decision to make. He probably could’ve used his length and elevation to get a few high-percentage shots off on the drive, but whether that thought even crossed his young mind as an option is unknown. What’s undeniable is his length – he’s easily the lankiest and longest guy on the floor, sometimes comically. When he does learn to put that length to use, say playing a passing angle or two, getting in a proper defensive stance and, you know, actually defending, things will turn for him. For now, he’s getting his feet wet much like a kid entering a chilly swimming pool. Until this guy just pushed him in.

Caboclo drifted on the perimeter for most of the game and rarely cut inside, perhaps knowing that none of the point guards have the requisite skill to make a decent pass. If you happened to chance upon watching this game, all you saw on display was Caboclo three-point shooting – a relatively quick release that is unblockable on account of his height. The slashing aspect of his game was missing, and at one point I just wanted him to go one-on-one against whoever was guarding him but he’s too new/shy to do that just yet.  He’s an athlete who’s learning to play basketball.  Fact.

Poor Bebe Nogueira, ain’t nobody passing him the ball and to be fair, rightfully so. He made honest cuts to the basket, set good screens from which he slipped using good form, but never even caught a whiff of the ball despite cutting out a Marouane Fellaini-type figure on the court. He’s got the length, he’s got the size, he’s got the movement, unfortunately for him the application on offense was missing because he needs to be fed to score. Much like Caboclo, he was missing on defense and looked a little bored from the outset. The one time he got the ball in the post he tried a well-intentioned dream-shake which ended up looking like he was twerking the defender. Another time he caught the ball as part of a broken play and stared at it like it was some sort of rare metal. There was a also a third time where he hilariously threw it out.


It was not the best of games from Nogueira as reflected in his barren box (1-4 FG, 2 pts, 3 reb in 21 min). He did continue to show good movement, and any observer would surmise that he’s worthy of a few minutes here and there, if for no reason other than because of his constant motion and willingness to come out and help up top.

As we trudged through this foul-ridden affair (which is the last thing you want a summer league game to be), it dawned on me that the most impressive Raptor was possibly DeAndre Daniels. He’s got a slow release from three which I doubt would come off as-is in a real game, but here he got a few shots off and nailed a couple. Defensively, he was the most active of the players you’re interested in and displayed good footwork in 1v1 situations, and was also the only Raptor who tried to play some team defense – i.e., passing lane, help, etc. The issue I see with him making the roster this year is that there’s no one skill or ability that he particularly shines at and a year or two in the D-League or Europe might develop a marketable skill or two. Certainly, sitting on the end of an NBA bench is probably the worst thing for his hopeful NBA career.

I spent a lot of time shaking my head at Canadian Myck Kabongo, who has managed to combine the erraticness of T.J Ford with the indecision of Joey Graham, whilst possessing the instincts of a bowling ball.  None of the point guards showed anything worth of a comment here, and my expectations weren’t even that high. Forget ball movement or a functional offense, I realize that’s too much to ask of a band of scallywags, all I ask for is a proper entry-pass and maybe a bounce-pass that didn’t look like a hard-hit shot to second base. Forget organizing a set, just get to the frontcourt without the whole offense looking pear-shaped. Tsk, tsk for Robson and Shurna whose first priority is to shoot on sight of rim.  Note that Dwight Buycks didn’t play, not that it would’ve mattered.

The guy that I did enjoy was Hassan Whiteside (nice play here).  I’m going to go ahead and say this guy will get an invite to training camp on account of being 7-foot tall and weighing in a legitimate 260lbs.  He played hard while playing like he’s 260lbs, ran the floor, and moved his feet well on defense for a guy his size. He was recently released from the Lebanese Basketball League  which is about as low as you could get.  I imagine he’s worth an invite just so you have a big body in practice to bang against.  If we didn’t have power forwards coming out of the wazoo, I’d also say take a chance on former-Hawk Ivan Johnson.

As for the game, the Mavericks have some vets on the roster and the Raptors are pretty green.  This was never a contest with the Mavericks’ physical presence overwhelming the Raptors inside, and their defensive pressure killing us outside.   The Raptors had 30 turnovers in this game, compared to the Mavs’ 19, making for some rather ugly basketball.  The Raptors also shot 30% which, once you apply the summer league exchange rate, is like shooting 18%.

Good riddance to the game – the guys got a good run in, no one looked particularly impressive, and the best thing to happen here is that Caboclo and Bebe got a little more exposure to North American basketball. The usual applies to both: put some weight on, gain some strength, become more coordinated and learn to use their physical advantage to gain a basketball one. Guys like Solomon Alabi never made it, guys like JaVale McGee did. Let’s see what happens.

  • Bear

    Few observations:
    1) No ball movement, and when the ball was moved, turnovers happend. I agree with the PG comment. The lack of organized offence makes it difficult to analyze the youngsters.
    2) Bruno’s biggest offseason goals: put some weight on and learn to dribble.
    3) Bebe’s biggest offseason goals: put some weight on and work on boxing out.
    4) Daniel’s biggest limitation: inability to see the floor or pass the ball. Not sure how you work on that.

  • rapierraptor

    Nice write up, Zarar. The guard play is truly attrocious. Hassan Whiteside played hard and did some impressive things out there. He is so much bigger than when he came out of Marshall a few years back. He’s not only strong, he also has a 7’7″ wing span and a 9’5″ standing reach. (http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Hassan-Whiteside-5660/) It’s hard for anyone to shine in this format but damn if you can’t dig in and play hard on defense then you don’t deserve to be out there. Even by summer league standards this is a really inexperienced team and it shows.

    • arsenalist

      Thanks man. Why do you think Whiteside hasn’t panned out so far?

      • rapierraptor

        I think he left college way too early. He was too thin, raw and buried in a crowded frontcourt. Also, plagued by season-ending knee and ankle injuries. I may be wrong on this but I also sort of remember he had a reputation for being immature.

  • Eunys

    What a pain!!!!

  • Jamshid

    I wonder who will get blamed this season by the fans here first for B & B ( Bruno and Bebe) not getting the ball:
    Casey or Lowry !!!

    • Trivial

      Casey obviously, they won’t see the floor.

  • LuckyMystery

    I haven’t read the article yet, but god damn the point guard play has been absolute brutal. And guys like Robson and Shurna shoot every time they touch the ball. No extra passes ever, no organization. There is no way to evaluate the guys we want to be evaluating properly.

    • Chewwy No Matthew

      It is really bad. There seems to be zero organization out there and no system. Listening to Jesse Murmuys interviews really shows how little he is doing. A couple of things he said that made me scratch my head was Bruno was amazing. Bruno has potential but he certainly didn’t play great. Murmuys said Bruno was the only Raptor playing hard which is an insult to the rest of the team but in particular Daniels who had 5 boards and 16 points and is playing his ass off to try to get a job here. Whiteside also gave a strong effort with 8 points and 9 boards in 16 minutes and he certainly was playing hard. Just listening to Murmuys speak in interviews makes me understand that the Raptors young players will not gain anything from his coaching this summer

  • Trini

    Where’s the guy who said Bebe is the future C over JV?

  • Truth Teller

    Summer League at its best

  • RPT23

    In some angles, Caboclo resembles Anderson Silva with hair.

  • webfeat

    On the bright side, they’ll appreciate playing with good PGs like Lowry and Vasquez when they finally get to play with the big team.

  • Wes mantooth

    Who’s coaching this team?? That’s the real question. Because there’s zero orginazation out there. The mavs were playing real basketball ie running plays etc. We were just chucking up threes and playing zero D
    I watch summer league every year and this is by far the worst I’ve seen from raps.
    It’s actually gotten to the point of useless pointless and a possible detriment to players we might want to use. Just awful
    I bet you were missing Reggie today after having to sit through two hrs of cleeves

  • Chatham_Cathy

    SCALLYWAGS!!! Yes! Any excuse to use that word.

  • raptormania

    I gotta say the raptors management did a poor job in assembling talent for summer league. This was some terribly awful basketball I had to endure. Well summer league is not really for fans but even then, they had a great opportunity to see these players strenghts/weakness etc and based on the basketball there are more questions then answers.

    • tonious35

      The first line should of never been put there at all, it ruined a comment that made complete sense.

  • Alex Vostrikov

    caboclo has a long way to go…. and forget about Durant type of player. Durant torched competition at 18 yrs old,. caboclo can barely dribble. the only way to get Durant type… is sign Durant himself.
    I agree that PG was the problem. and you cannot change it, regardless who is on the floor. every player plays for himself in summer league… and guards have advantage of ball possessions.
    honestly, its the worst type of basketball you can watch, strange, that coaches aloud players to ISO almost every possession.
    anyways, that’s it for summer league ball…. cant wait for the season to begin.

    • Bob the Truthteller

      No one here says he is the ‘Brazilian Kevin Durant’ that’s only the analysts who couldn’t come up with anything and just made a comparison of length. Give Bruno a chance man.

  • Trivial


    • arsenalist

      He’s free to go. August 20th deadline for Raps guaranteeing him for next year.

  • tonious35

    I think monitoring a “prized” rookie in the NBA is like watching a one guy in a prison (now keep reading, it is not viewing at it to a much negative point) because we all tell the guy not to drop the soap in the shower, but he inevitably does and gets the bizz. It all depends on how the victim responds after the soap dropping. Will he become the prison bitch, or will he man-up and become the predator + tear-drop tattoo? We’ve seen our prison bitches before [Hoffa, Bargnani (the prison bitch that the warden favors], Jawai, Villanueva, Joey Graham] and we get to know and respect the predators [JV, Ross, DeRozan, PJ Tucker (transferred to different prisons in process), and Bosh].

    These last two summer league games that passed might have been the major soap drop for Bebe and Bruno + D.Daniels. From how things look, they seem to be taking the predator reaction, hopefully.

    • dfdunworry


  • Rapchat

    Dude this was a great write up thanks! I laughed the whole article… Forget ball movement or a functional offense, I realize that’s too much to ask of a band of scallywags>>>HAHAHAHAHAHA

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  • BraLLer

    CABOCLO! Kid has some “raw” skill. I like this pick more and more. He just seems like a good kid. His sadness after the last couple games shows something special. Unlike Napier who was smiles after going 3 for 12 or some guff like that.

  • caccia

    Perhaps, as Coach Casey said, I know nothing about basketball. But I do know about physical development. At age 18, a man barely has control of his hands and feet. That is particularly true if he is tall and lanky–there is so much more of you to figure out. So if Toronto thinks it has a hidden gem in Caboclo, that may be true. But tall men are notoriously late in developing (aside from a few freaks like Earvin “Magic” Johnson and LeBron James) and the team should not expect much of anything from this guy for three or four years. That’s how long does it take to learn a complex sport like basketball, while at the same time maturing physically.