The Toronto Raptors wasted no time in assigning sophomore Bruno Caboclo to the Raptors 905 NBA D-League team this season, after all, that was the plan they had hoped to follow last year if they could have acquired a D-League affiliate a little quicker. Caboclo might look like another Kevin Durant off the court and in practice sessions, but his lack of professional experience means this 20-year-old forward still has a long ways to go before being NBA-ready.
Raptors 905 head coach Jesse Mermuys on Bruno Caboclo:
“You have that length and talent and you look like Kevin Durant, but you just haven’t had that same reps, that same coaching and the same anything growing up,” Raptors 905 head coach Jesse Mermuys told Pro Bball Report in this exclusive one-on-one behind the scenes interview. “(Caboclo) needs playing experience, he needs minutes and he needs us as a coaching staff to help him every single day and be able to live with some mistakes and growing pains and I thought we’ve done that so far and as long as he just trusts us and is patient with the process.
“Everybody just needs to slow down and just let this thing happen and when he’s ready, if he does it the right way and doesn’t try and rush it, he’ll be ready.”
Caboclo has enjoyed some good outings with the 905 and some equally terrible appearances as he has averaged 14.3 points on 38.1 percent shooting from the field and 29.5 percent shooting from three-point range in 32.3 minutes through 16 games. His defense has been ahead of his offense in most games as he’s averaged 5.4 rebounds, a steal and 1.7 blocked shots. There is no disguising the potential of all that natural length and bounce.
The 905 has been good for Caboclo. He looks a lot happier than he did after last year’s disastrous experience with the independent D-League Mad Ants as the 905 coaching staff ensures he gets his minutes and his touches pretty much no matter what happens during individual games. After a full season in the NBA D-League playing significant minutes, just maybe Caboclo will have caught up enough to look like a productive NBA rookie next season.