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NBA Toronto Raptors Bruno Caboclo

Raptors Bruno Caboclo Frustration Boils Over With Brazil

It shouldn’t have even come as a surprise that the Toronto Raptors Bruno Caboclo let his frustration boil over with Brazil this summer. National Team head coaches are famous for acting more like they are running a US college team of 30 years ago than a group of professionals and Caboclo brought a lot of insecurity and baggage with him.

As Fábio Balassiano writes in uol (translated),

I do not know if there could be a more bizarre / sad / tragic / catastrophic night for Brazilian basketball like this one on August 26, 2017 in Medellin.

To make matters worse, the mood (heated) up between Bruno Caboclo and the national coaching staff.

the Toronto Raptors’ wing was called to return to the court in the second period, but declined. In the interval, he was dismissed for discipline by the Manager Renato Lamas.

The real reasons behind Caboclo’s insubordination during the game against Mexico may never fully come to light, but they should have been headed off by the coaching staff as something was obviously going very wrong in the relationship as described by Colin Foster of basquete 360 (translated),

On the bench, he had an expression of extreme dissatisfaction. In the warm-up, he went to the other half of the court while the whole group hit the ball on one side. He stayed alone until the team work was mandatory.

The Toronto Raptors had drafted Caboclo as a project player most famously described as being two years away from being two years away and his first NBA season was an unmitigated disaster.

The next year in the inaugural season with the NBA D-League Raptors 905 things got better and last year he finally started to show some consistency in the NBA D-League championship run by the 905. However, each season saw him feeling less and less like he was a part of the big club.

Raptors president Masai Ujiri described Caboclo’s first three NBA season as, “almost like he’s gone thru college on our team.”

Caboclo said no one on the Raptors was mentoring him and, “the 905 is like everybody is family.”

Last season in Toronto Caboclo knew where he stood and it was obvious from talking to him that his ego was fragile. It wasn’t going to take a lot to shatter his confidence or make him feel like an outsider this summer.

Great job Lamas, you succeeded in setting Caboclo back yet again.

Caboclo was then informed that he would no longer be part of the group, was away indefinitely and that he would return from Medellín on the first possible flight this Sunday.

After the game Caboclo apologized for his actions on his instagram account.

 

" Eu Quero me desculpar com a Confederação Brasileira de Basquete pela minha conduta durante o jogo da noite passada. Respeito meus treinadores e colegas, e deixei que minhas emoções entrassem no caminho dos objetivos da nossa equipe. É uma honra representar o país que amo e humildemente aceito as consequências para as minhas ações. Estou crescendo como um profissional a cada dia e me esforçando para tornar os meus fãs, companheiros de equipe, país e família orgulhosos ". • • • • • • • "I want to apologize to the Brazilian Basketball Federation for my conduct during last night’s game. I respect my coaches/teammates and disappointed that my emotions got in the way of our team’s goals. It’s an honor to represent the country I love and will humbly accept the consequences for my actions. I am growing as a professional each day and striving to make my fans, teammates, country and family proud."

A post shared by Bruno Caboclo (@brunofive) on

 

“I want to apologize to the Brazilian Basketball Federation for my conduct during last night’s game. I respect my coaches/teammates and disappointed that my emotions got in the way of our team’s goals. It’s an honor to represent the country I love and will humbly accept the consequences for my actions. I am growing as a professional each day and striving to make my fans, teammates, country and family proud.”

As Balassiano says about the Brazil’s National Team,

The guilt is far from being only of (the manager), but I confess that I expected more of a team that appears apathetic, disorganized and totally without an idea of what to do with the ball

Once again Caboclo has been tossed into a situation he wasn’t ready for, little was done to accommodate his inexperience and immaturity and he’ll likely take the brunt of the blame for his meltdown. He wasn’t ready for this situation and Brazil’s coaches obviously weren’t ready for this summer either.

If he wasn’t making so much money from the Raptors, it’d be hard not to feel sorry for the kid.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

NBA Toronto Raptors Bruno Caboclo

Ujiri Admits Raptors Made a Mistake With Bruno Caboclo

It isn’t easy for anyone to admit they made a mistake, especially when it’s a $7 million mistake ($10 million Canadian), but Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri finally felt forced to admit he may have blew it by drafting the very raw 18-year-old Bruno Caboclo and bringing him to the NBA straight away.

“Bruno is a tough one because I think I want to almost blame myself for bringing him too soon to our team,” Ujiri responded to Pro Bball Report when asked about his project player. “We wanted to see his development and it’s the price we pay. The price I pay.

“I wanted to see his development and it’s almost like he’s gone thru college on our team.”

It wasn’t supposed to go this way.

The Raptors knew they had drafted a project player in Caboclo and the plan was to purchase a minor pro league basketball team that summer and convert it into an NBA Development League franchise to give Caboclo a place to play. Unfortunately the deal fell thru and options and easy opportunities to get Caboclo playing time fell thru with it.

The independently owned Fort Wayne Mad Ants became the Raptors only D-League option for Caboclo and while they accepted the player assignment, they were never even remotely interested in developing teenagers for someone else.

Rather than getting some much needed playing time, Caboclo was treated to a string of DNP-CDs. The Mad Ants did successfully crush the rookie’s confidence and sent back a young player worse for the experience.

“I learned only mental (aspects) because I didn’t play a lot of minutes,” Caboclo told Pro Bball Report about his Mad Ants experience. “I had games where I was not playing, like five games, zero minutes.”

“It was embarrassing,” Caboclo later admitted.

The next summer Ujiri got his D-League team, the Mississauga Raptors 905, so Caboclo finally got a chance to play and he appreciated it. Caboclo played 32.7 minutes and put up a 16 point 13 rebound double-double in the Raptors 905 inaugural season opener in Fort Wayne.

It probably didn’t surprise anybody that the rest of his first real pro season in North America didn’t come close to living up to his first 905 game, but at least he got to play 1270.5 minutes in 37 games.

Last year there was hope he’d build on his first season of D-League experience, but surprisingly, across the board his regular season stats were down. Points, 14.7 fell to 9.9, rebounds dropped from 6.5 to 5.4, and  blocks 1.8 to 1.2. Even his three-point shooting percentage didn’t improve, stalling out at 33.1 percent.

So why does Ujiri sound hopeful, even happy, with his progress?

“We are happy with how he finished in the D-League,” Ujiri explained. “We like the player he is developing into and we are hoping we can find some minutes for him next year. He is making good progress as a two-way player.”

Caboclo stepped up huge in the Raptors 905 seven game run to the 2017 D-League Championship. Averaging 12 points on 51.6 percent shooting, 41.9 percent on 4.4 three-point attempts per game, 5.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks, he looked pretty good. Not as good as Pascal Siakam who was the Championship MVP, but pretty good.

There were signs of Caboclo becoming that long lanky ‘3-and-D’ forward envisioned when he drafted three years ago.

“Whether he tries to be a knock-down shooter and a defender using his length, those are the kinds of players we are looking for. It’s only he has been a player on our team for a long time and people are waiting for it,” Ujiri said.

“I think it’s close. I think the coaches are happy with where they see him now.”

Caboclo is working out with DeMar DeRozan and his teammates in L.A. and would have played in the Las Vegas Summer League except he tweaked a knee ahead of the tournament.

The kid who needed an English tutor when he first arrived in Toronto and was still struggling to understand everything he heard last year is getting better at all aspects of the pro game. The kid glove treatment from his first 905 head coach Jesse Mermuys and the more demanding treatment from last year’s 905 head coach Jerry Stackhouse was what he needed.

“One of the things being a foreign player and being a foreign very young player, probably the youngest player in the NBA when he came in is the feel for the game. The life of the NBA. The everything on and off the court. You almost have to teach those things,” Ujiri explained.  “And these are the things he’s learned over the last three years and hopefully his body filling out, getting a little bit stronger, where he can stay on the court with NBA players will help him quite a bit.”

The Raptors can see the possibilities.

“He’s hearing me over there yelling go at him. (Caboclo) can do everything, it’s not that he can’t do anything, he can do everything so it’s about giving him the confidence to know that we want him to do it,” Stackhouse said.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

NBA Toronto Raptors 905 Bruno Caboclo

Still Waiting On Raptors Bruno Caboclo To Break Out

Not wanting to set the standards too high too soon, we’re still waiting on the Toronto Raptors Bruno Caboclo to break out at the NBA D-League level. No one is asking the 20th pick of the 2014 Draft to be ready to contribute at the NBA level, but it would provide some measure of reassurance if he could start dominating with the 905.

In the long list of players that have suited up for the Raptors 905 this season, Caboclo ranks 10th in scoring, 6th in rebounding, 7th in steals and 3rd in blocks.

And, if you were to look for any statistical improvement over his previous season in Mississauga, you wouldn’t find it.

.                        2015-16            2016-17
Points               14.7                       9.6
Rebounds          6.5                       5.3
Assists                1.7                       1.2
Steals                 1.1                       1.0
Blocks                1.8                       1.5
FG%                 40.3%                  40.8%
3FG%               33.5%                  32.0%

There’s the excuse that head coach Jerry Stackhouse is asking Caboclo to play more at small forward this year and cutting his minutes back a bit as winning is a bigger priority than last year, but those would be excuses for an NBA prospect in his third season playing in the D-League.

For all the outstanding performances from Caboclo like when he swatted a Raptors 905 club record 7 blocks in his 2016-17 debut while adding 17 points and 10 boards, he still disappears often enough to become a very average D-League player who isn’t taking full advantage of his remarkable natural gifts.

Caboclo ranks outside of the top 100 D-League players in scoring and outside of the top 50 in three-point shooting and rebounding. It’s hard not to blame his lack of progress for Caboclo becoming a forgotten man in Toronto.

He’s not forgotten in Mississauga, however, where he has been a regular in the starting lineup for two seasons now and the Raptors are pretty much forced in trying to get him to figure it out. Toronto picked up his option for next year prior to the start of this season.

“Everybody here loves (Caboclo),” 905 head coach Jerry Stackhouse said at the start of the season. “It’s my job. Masai (Ujiri) does a great job of identifying talent and he feels like Bruno is going to be a great player in this league (the NBA) and it’s our job to make sure that he does it.”

Was two years away from being two years away optimistic? It’s looking like Stackhouse will still be trying to make sure Caboclo “does it” next year.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

NBA Toronto Raptors Bruno Caboclo

Has Bruno Caboclo Become The Raptors Forgotten Man?

Two years away from being two years away is becoming true for the Toronto Raptors third year prospect Bruno Caboclo and the Mississauga Raptors 905 D-League regular has become the forgotten man on the NBA roster.

“It’s tough,” Caboclo told Pro Bball Report. “I do what they say. I do my part at the side. I am still working and waiting for my time.”

And who is mentoring Caboclo in Toronto?  “I don’t know,” the young forward responded.

His time isn’t likely to come anytime soon in Toronto. Caboclo is the 15th man on a 15 man roster and has played fewer minutes than even the team’s fourth string undrafted rookie point guard Fred VanVleet. It would take a run of injuries of epic proportion for him to crack the rotation this season, so it’s been back to the Mississauga Raptors to get the playing time necessary to learn the game.

The acquisition of an owned and controlled NBA Development League franchise by the Raptors last year has already proven to be a huge benefit. Norman Powell, Delon Wright and Lucas Nogueira were obvious beneficiaries last season, however, the 905 may have saved Caboclo’s professional basketball future.

Caboclo was drafted on talent and physical attributes with very little basketball experience behind him and his first year in Toronto was an unmitigated waste of time with no controlled D-League team to develop him on. He played 62 minutes in 7 games with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants who made it abundantly clear with several DNP-CDs that they didn’t want him there.

On the 905 last season Caboclo played 1270 minutes and was allowed to work thru his insecurities, inexperience and numerous mistakes and he got better and he’ll continue to improve this year going from the much-needed kid-glove approach of Jesse Mermuys last year to the all-business approach of new 905 head coach Jerry Stackhouse.

“Jesse (Mermuys) and Stackhouse are two different coaches,” Caboclo said. “Stackhouse wants us to play different defense and offense. He wants us to do every detail, to be perfect. Basketball is a game of mistakes and with him, (he wants) less. He works us very hard every day.”

The primary reason the 905 exists is to help players under contract with the Toronto Raptors improve and get ready to help win games in the NBA, so players like Caboclo get a lot of attention and help. Stackhouse, the staff and even the 905 players recognize this and it benefits a young guy like Caboclo.

“The 905 is like everybody is family,” Caboclo said. “Everybody helps each other, the coach too.”

And Caboclo knows he has gotten better because he’s been playing in Mississauga over the last year.

“My game has changed,” Caboclo said. “My body has changed too. I can see the change already.

“Every game I play I get better and it’s better to play too.

“I am getting a little bit of confidence.”

Playing in the D-League has helped Caboclo. He has put together multiple 20 point 10 rebound efforts there. He also set a new franchise record for blocks with 7 earlier this season. He’s learning and gaining confidence because he has somewhere to play and a role that’s important when he does play.

A forgotten man in Toronto, but not ignored by the organization. The Raptors are giving this very raw, inexperienced and unpolished natural talent an opportunity to learn the game out of the limelight. He might just become the something special president Masai Ujiri envisioned two years ago with another two years playing in Mississauga.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

 

Toronto Raptors 905 Bruno Caboclo NBA Development League

Raptors Bruno Caboclo Swats A 905 Club Record 7 Blocks

This wasn’t the timid, trying too hard, Bruno Caboclo the Toronto Raptors sent down to their NBA D-League affiliate in Mississauga last November. Not even close. Caboclo swatted a Raptors 905 club record 7 blocks in his 2016-17 debut as he recorded a team-high 17 points on 7-14 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds to flirt with a triple-double in the 117-83 win over the visiting Long Island Nets.

New 905 head coach Jerry Stackhouse was quick to take credit for the Raptors prospect’s hot start.

“He’s with me,” coach Stackhouse responded to Pro Bball Report. “He’s hearing me over there yelling go at him. (Caboclo) can do everything, it’s not that he can’t do anything, he can do everything so it’s about giving him the confidence to know that we want him to do it and I think that he came out and we drew up the first play for him tonight and he hit an open three. That got his confidence going.

“With Bruno it’s just about his confidence, not to come in here and get tight about the game. I got to figure out more ways, more creative ways, to get him to just relax. I don’t know if it’s just getting him a book to read or coming in with me before the game or even watching a movie or something, just not to be so uptight about the game of basketball.

“Everybody here loves (Caboclo). It’s my job. Masai (Ujiri) does a great job of identifying talent and he feels like Bruno is going to be a great player in this league (the NBA) and it’s our job to make sure that he does it. (Ujiri) found me.

Caboclo came into the game like a house on fire hitting a pair of corner threes and crashing the glass for a putback as the 905 raced out to an 11-0 lead. He used his length for easy blocks and he had the play of the game when he drove from just inside the three-point line past multiple defenders for the reverse dunk or maybe it was the rundown of an errant pass to reach across the timeline and throw a lob to center Yanick Moreira for the easy score with just a second left on the shot clock?

“Most of what (Caboclo) does is on the offensive end, but where I think he could really make his mark is on the defensive end,” Stackhouse said. “You can’t see anything when he’s on you and he’s aggressive and he has the ability to get beat and still be able to recover and protect the rim and do different things like that and get his hands and make it a really tough shot, a tough contest. That’s where we got to continue to build.”

Caboclo was understandably happy with his performance.

“I feel good,” Caboclo said postgame. “Using my length all the game, trying to impact the defense and trying to get offensive rebounds.

“I am a lot more confident (this year.) I have been working a lot and the game is just coming now.

“(Coach Stackhouse) is good. He is very tough and everybody is scared they don’t make a mistake and our relationship is very good. We play one-on-one together. He plays with everybody and shows (us) the game like he knows and everybody (wants to) learn what he (can) pass (on) to us.”

Stackhouse was a two-time NBA All-Star who played 18 seasons and averaged 16.9 points during his career. He still looks like he could lace up the shoes and be a player coach. “It’s crossed my mind,” Stackhouse said.

The new 905 coach definitely has Caboclo off to a good start.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 



 

 

NBA Toronto Raptors Lucas Bebe Nogueira summer camp 2016

Raptors Lucas Nogueira Bigger Than Normal Summer

By Lindsay Dunn

This past summer Toronto Raptors bet on the progress of center Lucas ‘Bebe’ Nogueira when they didn’t add a veteran seven-footer to offset the loss of Bismack Biyombo to free agency. However, Bebe should be forgiven if he had even bigger things on his mind recently. He said “I do”, not to a new Raptors contract, but to a new partner in life, wife Caroline Kuczynski.

NBA Toronto Raptors Lucas Nogueira and wife

“It’s great!,” Nogueira said. “I have got to work to make my own history with her. It is work, but I have to be positive about the future.”

Before Bebe walked down the aisle he received some words of wisdom from his fellow Raptors.

Lucas Nogueira with Biyombo and Caboclo and a Rolls 2016

“I got advice from Coach Casey and Valanciunas, the married guys on the team. They gave me some advice, but every marriage has a different story and a different situation.”

Nogueira recently held his first basketball camp in Pickering that was put on by none other than his fellow teammate Cory Joseph’s Dad David Joseph. Nogueira was joined by his fellow teammate and fellow Brazilian Bruno Caboclo.

Lucas Nogueira and Bruno Caboclo at kids camp 2016

 

“Lucas and I are from the same country,” Caboclo said about his friendship with Nogueira. “He has helped me a lot and I have helped him, it’s just amazing we are on the same team. I am so happy.”

Caboclo was just one of Nogueira’s teammates that were in Toronto for his nuptials. Former Raptors player Bismack Biyombo, who captivated the attention of thousands of Raptors fans this past season, was also there for his wedding day.

Bismack was just one of several changes the Raptors made this offseason. Changes that have not went unnoticed by the newlywed.

“I recognize how much the Raptors trust me and have invested in me this summer because they didn’t get anybody in my position,” Nogueira said about the offseason changes. “I have been working the entire summer for the next season. I never create expectation, especially in the NBA it is a tough business, you never know what is going to happen tomorrow.”

Nogueira’s buddy Caboclo also has big hopes for the next season. “I hope I get more playing time,” Caboclo said after helping Nogueira at his basketball camp. “I am going to do my best to help the team next season and go further than last year. To help them make the finals and then get a championship next year.”

Those are high hopes for the 20-year-old Caboclo, but they are words many Raptors fans would love to hear, “Raptors, NBA Champions.”

 

 

Lindsay DunnLindsay Dunn has been a TV sports and entertainment reporter for the past decade. She is currently based in Toronto and covers the local scene including the Toronto Raptors and Raptors 905. Follow her on Twitter@LindsayDunnTV

 

 

 


 

NBA Toronto Raptors Bruno Caboclo

Is Raptors Bruno Caboclo Still 2 Years Away From Being NBA Ready

No one takes NBA Summer League too seriously, but for players trying to make an NBA roster or crack an NBA rotation, it’s pretty serious business. Impressions are made in these game-like situations and those impressions can determine if players like the Raptors 20-year-old forward Bruno Caboclo gets a real shot at playing time or is assumed to be destined to play for the D-League affiliate Raptors 905.

The Raptors drafted Caboclo as an 18-year-old project player. So inexperienced that he was expected to mostly play in the D-League as a rookie and even in his second NBA season. The goal was to see progress and now with his third NBA Summer League stint under his belt, there are benchmarks by which he can be evaluated.

As an organization the Raptors have remained positive about Caboclo’s progress from day one. Expectations were never set too high and encouragement has been the order of the day.

“I think all the work we’ve been putting in all season long, it’s coming into fruition for (Caboclo),” Raptors assistant coach Jerry Stackhouse said after Game Three at Summer League. “I think his confidence is huge right now. Hopefully he’ll continue to get more confident as he goes along.

“We are going to keep encouraging him as soon as he feels any space to let it go. If not, then get it moving and we’ll try to find something better.

“He’s been really good, great at the defense the last couple of games. I am really happy with Bruno’s play.”

Caboclo’s defense is better than two summers ago, that’s a pretty low bar. His blocks per game in Summer League have gone from 0.2 per game in 2014 to 0.6 in 2015 and 0.8 in 2016, but the better statistical indication that he’s playing better is he’s making fewer mistakes – 3.6 turnovers in 2014 and 2.6 turnovers in 2016, and taking fewer personal fouls – 4.4 in 2014 and 2.6 in 2016. Also, he’s moving the ball along on offense – 0.4 assists in 2015 and 2015, 1.2 assists in 2016.

Caboclo is long, athletic and fast, he has the tools to be a good defender, but what catches everyone’s attention is his potential to stretch the floor with his shooting and the potential to take advantage of smaller defenders in the paint. However, that’s just not progressing like one would expect.

Caboclo shot 39.5 percent from the field in 2014 and 30.8 percent from three-point range and that was very acceptable – then. This summer he shot 38.3 percent from the field and 35.5 percent from three. The three-point shot is improving, albeit slowly and he just made too many mistakes with the ball when he stepped inside the arc and not finishing in the paint the way one would hope from a player in his third Summer League season.

His Summer League shooting stats were in line with what he did in the D-League (40.3% FG, 33.5% 3FG), but continuous improvement is the order of the day and it’s hard to say Caboclo has made the kind of leap hoped for two years ago.

His rebounding still leaves a lot to be desired as well. Caboclo averaged 3 rebounds per game in 2014, 4.2 in 2015 and 4.0 in 2016. A 6’9 combo forward should be able to do more against Summer League competition. With the Raptors 905, he was grabbing 6.5 boards a game last season and he should have found it easier in the summer.

“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 an exclusive one-on-one behind the scenes interview during the season. “(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.”

There was an opportunity for Caboclo to impress at Summer League this year as the Raptors really don’t have much depth at small forward currently. However, the big kid from Brazil still doesn’t look ready to take on much of a role at the NBA level, at least not on a team hoping to get back to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The draft day mantra of “two years away from being two years away” is getting closer to becoming reality, but there are signs Caboclo’s game is improving in certain areas. All that may be required is another large dose of patience.

 

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 


 

NBA Toronto Raptors Bruno Caboclo

Raptors Bruno Caboclo Needs To Stop Singing

The Toronto Raptors drafted a very raw Bruno Caboclo as a project 20th overall in 2014 as they believed this virtually unknown kid from Brazil had unlimited potential, however, what they didn’t know was this outgoing young man loved to sing as well and he’s brutally terrible at it.

Raptors assistant coach and 905 head coach Jesse Mermuys has been teaching Caboclo the game of basketball for the past two seasons and Caboclo continues to torture him and everyone else nearby with his singing.

“Bruno’s singing on those bus rides, I’ve had to tell him a few times to knock it off. I can’t handle it,” Mermuys said. “Come-on Bruno, I’m working up here. I’ve got stuff to do. I can’t handle (it). He sounds like – and this is dating myself – he sounds like Eddie Murphy in that movie where he’s got his head phones on and he’s singing. It might be Beverly Hills Cop.

“His singing is brutal and he doesn’t stop. I tell him, Bruno I’m working up here please keep it down and then he ducks his head, he gets nervous, he stops for a while and then 30 minutes later he’s starting the crescendo back up.”

Maybe that’s why Raptors head coach Dwane Casey didn’t want to bring Caboclo back up to the big club? (No, just kidding, I think.)

Mermuys won’t have to listen to Caboclo’s singing next season as his good friend Luke Walton recently hired him to be an assistant coach with the Lakers. Mermuys will be missed in Toronto. He did a great job with the 905 and was the driving force behind Caboclo (and other 905 players) improvement over the course of last season.

“Bruno has done a really nice job (this season),” Mermuys said. “I thought early on everyone could really feel and tell he was pressing so much because I think he felt like he was so behind. He felt the pressure of man I wasted a year (as a rookie because) I didn’t get to play and you could tell that was coming out in his play. To see him settle in and take that edge off and really calm down, it improved his shot selection and his decision making, his passing. Everything because he is so talented and he does work so hard that once we got that out of the way, the improvement came pretty rapidly and so I’m actually really pleased and surprised. Not that he’s out of the woods. There’s no question there’s a lot of work to be done and we’re really excited about getting after it again this summer.”

NBA Toronto Raptors Bruno Caboclo

Mermuys couldn’t improve Caboclo’s singing, but maybe he set the stage for the Raptors prospect to show he’s on track to become the player the Raptors thought they were drafting a couple of years ago.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 


NBA Toronto Raptors Bruno Caboclo

Raptors 905 Made Bruno Caboclo Ready To Be An NBA Rookie

Being two years away from being two years away doesn’t sound so harsh two years after the very young Brazilian forward Bruno Caboclo was drafted 20th overall by the Toronto Raptors. With a full NBA D-League season under his belt, Caboclo is starting to look like Raptors director player personnel and Raptors 905 general manager Dan Tolzman envisioned. Caboclo is starting to look like an NBA rookie.

“(It’s) night and day,” Tolzman said about Caboclo after the 905 season finale. “It’s the type of thing where you see (Caboclo) tonight that big dunk and beyond that I liked the emotion he showed at the beginning of the game, just the fire that he is now playing with is something we never saw out of the guy before and he is now building a little bit of confidence and the types of things that he is doing out on the court. He knows that he is good enough and he’s getting closer and closer to the NBA, ready for the NBA level. You can just see this young man starting to realize what he can really become.

“Some of the highlights he does, they are jaw-dropping sometimes. So it is pretty exciting to see the progress he’s made and to know that he is just scratching the surface. It’s a lot of fun.”

It wasn’t like this last year for Caboclo. With no minutes available on the Raptors and the only D-League option being the non-affiliated Fort Wayne Mad Ants who made it quite clear they didn’t want him, Caboclo’s rookie season was worse than a bust. It was a confidence destroyer. Getting multiple DNP-CDs in the D-League quite clearly signals you aren’t considered as good as an undrafted player.

Fortunately the Raptors got their corporate act together and bought their own NBA D-League team in time for this season.

“At Fort Wayne, they weren’t focused on me,” Caboclo explained. “Here they are more focused on me, so I am more free to play. It’s better to play when you are not scared to miss or you’ll be sat (down).”

“A guy like Bruno, from where he was when we first drafted him and the first year and not having this (D-League Affiliate) and seeing the progress now that he’s made being able to come back and forth (Raptors 905 to Raptors) and not even for games, just practicing with the 905 and being around a group of guys that are kind of at a similar stage that he is and have him be a big name around here, it just builds confidence and gets him comfortable and ready,” Tolzman said. “You can’t even describe how important that is.”

“Bruno’s last two (905) games have been really impressive,” 905 head coach Jesse Mermuys said. “From the beginning of the season to the last two games, he looks like a totally different player. He scored 31 points and he made it look easy and it wasn’t forced, he looked like a player.

“Early on and I think everyone could tell (Caboclo) was pressing so much because I think he felt he was behind. He felt the pressure of man, I wasted a year. I didn’t get to play and you could tell, that was coming out in his play. To see him settle in and take that edge off and really calm down, it has improved his shot selection and decision-making, his passing. Everything because he is so talented and he does work so hard that once we got that (pressing) out of the way, the improvement came pretty rapidly.”

Caboclo was drafted as a project player. A young guy with very limited actual basketball experience. He was drafted based on his obvious natural skills, incredible length, quickness and athleticism. He wasn’t drafted because he had any ideas about what to do in an actual game.

“(Caboclo) just hadn’t played much basketball (before),” Mermuys said. “It’s hard to be thrown in to the NBA not speaking the language, not really playing a lot of basketball. It’s not like he got to play junior high, high school, AAU summer tournament, none of that is there. This guy is playing the first real minutes of his career and absolutely you see where he can get to if he gets that time and he gets that experience.

“When I think back to that first game and (Caboclo) was just all over the place, bouncing around, not really knowing what to do, where to be, throwing up crazy shots and at no point did I ever want to just completely stifle him or demoralize him to where he didn’t want to continue because I knew it was going to be really hard. We tried to be super positive, but at the same time be able to pull him out when we absolutely needed to teach him some lessons and let him calm down.”

The transition was tougher than Caboclo or the Raptors organization let on during the year. Aside from Mermuys admitting early on that Caboclo was expected to be with the 905 for the entire NBA D-League season, there wasn’t any indication of just how far their young forward had to go. The Mad Ants weren’t wrong. Caboclo wasn’t even ready to contribute in a D-League game. However, with a lot of coaching and patience, things changed.

“I remember at the beginning of the season his frustration and you could tell he was visibly upset during the games and that was a carryover from Summer League so we knew that about him,” Mermuys admitted. “I remember a game that was definitely in the second half of the season, I got upset, he took two bad shots in a row, we sat him down and I wanted to see, (so) I looked over to see what what he was doing and he was sitting there like a pro. There was no emotion. There was no frustration. He looked like a guy just engaged in the game waiting his turn to go back in and that was a huge moment for us just to see that growth. He was able to take that criticism because I made it extremely clear that he was being pulled for his shot selection and he was able to handle that and be a pro and when I put him back in he helped us win that game.”

When asked about the development of his game Caboclo admitted, “I think more mental, basketball I know, still working (on it), but it’s more mental.”

Raptors 905 undoubtedly paid a price for Caboclo’s development in the first half of their inaugural season, but they also reaped the benefits of giving the Raptors young project player a chance in the second half and more importantly, they may have salvaged president and general manager Masai Ujiri’s 2014 first round draft pick. Just maybe he’ll be ready to look like a rookie in the NBA by the start of next season.

“He came in when we first drafted him behind everybody to begin with, so he’s still playing catch-up,” Tolzman said.

“Not that he’s out of the woods, there is a lot of work to be done and we are really excited about getting after it again this summer,” Mermuys said. “He is looking pretty good.

“It’s just really exciting for him and his future. He should feel really excited about next season and this summer now that he’s gotten some experience under his belt. He just looks like a player out there.”

 

 

Caboclo is still only 20-years-old and that incredible length and natural ability remains. IF he can continue to progress on the basketball front, Ujiri will look like he picked a winner – again.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 


NBA Toronto Raptors 905 Bruno Caboclo

Bruno Caboclo Breaks Out With The Raptors 905

Bruno Caboclo recorded an NBA Development League career high 31 points en route to a 136-105 Raptors 905 win over the Grand Rapids Drive Monday night at the DeltaPlex Arena in Walker, Michigan. Caboclo led all scorers as he shot 12-20 from the field and knocked down 3 triples to go with his 7 rebounds and career best 5 steals.

 

 

It’s been a productive season for the young forward in the D-League. In 35 games Caboclo has averaged 33.7 minutes, 14.4 points, 12.9 field goal attempts, 6.8 three-point attempts, 6.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.6 blocks.

“I feel more comfortable,” Caboclo told Pro Bball Report earlier this season. “We have more freedom in the D-League. (Head coach) Jesse (Mermuys) gives (me) a lot of opportunities there. I am trying to do my work, find out what I need to do, so I can improve.”

“(Caboclo) needs playing experience,” Mermuys confirmed. “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.”

Caboclo was drafted 20th overall in 2014 by the Toronto Raptors as a project player with the intention of sending him immediately to the D-League. Unfortunately the Raptors plans to acquire a D-League franchise that summer fell thru and it was largely a lost season for the young forward. These break out games this year with the 905 are very important in helping Caboclo show what he might be capable of in the future.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 


NBA Toronto Raptors Bruno Caboclo

Bruno Caboclo Is Learning Fast With Raptors 905

Bruno Caboclo is most famously known as being “two years away from being two years away,” but that was before Toronto had their own NBA D-League affiliate. Last year Caboclo had a terrible experience with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, but this year he’s been learning fast with the Mississauga Raptors 905. Pro Bball Report caught up with Caboclo at the Air Canada Centre recently and just maybe the 905 has put those first two years in the rearview mirror for Caboclo.

“The Mad Ants wasn’t a team from the Raptors, so they were focused on other guys, but here they are more focused on us and we can develop our game,” Caboclo said.

Last week we got a taste of just how far that development has come.

 

 

Caboclo scored 29 points and grabbed 11 rebounds against the D-League team that pretty much refused to play him last season. He shot 10-17 from the field and dropped 5-7 three-pointers. It was a game indicative of just how far he has progressed over this season.

With the 905 Caboclo gets to play, whether he’s having a good game or not. He has averaged 33.4 minutes, 14.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, a steal and 1.6 blocks in 30 games. His shooting has improved over the season to 44.8 percent from two-point range and 34.7 percent from three-point range (and those numbers were pretty terrible at the start of the season.) It’s been exactly what he’s needed to develop his game.

“I feel more comfortable,” Caboclo said. “We have more freedom in the D-League. (Head coach) Jesse (Mermuys) gives (me) a lot of opportunities there. I am trying to do my work, find out what I need to do, so I can improve.

“I always play(ed) on the outside, but now I have more opportunities. (It is) easier close to the basket, in the paint. Open shots are easy too, but it depends on the situation. Who is guarding you, if they are a good defender.

“I feel more comfortable playing small forward because I haven’t played much at power forward, but I am getting used to it now and I feel better at both small forward and power forward.

“If you are able to play at other (positions) it is better for you, you can get have more (of a) chance.”

Caboclo may have lost a year because the Raptors didn’t have their own D-League affiliate (as planned) last season, but this was never a short term project. Raptors president and general manager Masai Ujiri admittedly swung for the fences by taking Caboclo with the 20th overall draft pick two summers ago.

“It is going to take Bruno a little while,” Ujiri said after the 2014 draft. “I’m sure when you see him you’ll feel the excitement that we feel having a young player like that – that loves to work, is a basketball junkie, just loves to play basketball all day. I think that will be fun for our team, another young player like that. A 6’9 wing with a 7’ 6.5” wingspan, shoots the ball with good confidence. (He) needs to gain weight, there is some good upside there. In the 20s, he is a good risk to take.”

“(Caboclo) needs playing experience,” Mermuys told Pro Bball Report earlier this season. “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.”

The big Brazilian kid won’t be 21-years-old until September, but he’s put on some weight since he was drafted and remains a physical specimen in terms of height and length. Add an improving shooting stroke and it’s still easy to project/imagine Caboclo as an impact NBA player at some point. The best news is Caboclo really is learning fast with the 905 and the improvement is obvious.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

 

NBA Toronto Raptors 905 Bruno Caboclo

Raptors Bruno Caboclo Still Only Looks Like Kevin Durant

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.

 

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

 

NBA Toronto Raptors 905 Bruno Caboclo

A Bruno Caboclo Drive Makes Raptors 905 Coach Mermuys Happy

Raptors 905 head coach Jesse Mermuys knows it is going to take a while for young forward Bruno Caboclo to learn everything he is trying to teach him this season. So when he sees Caboclo take a lesson from a film session and implement it on the court in spectacular fashion, Mermuys wasn’t just happy, he was ecstatic.

“I can’t tell you, inside there was fireworks going off because we had just had this film session with (Caboclo) and we are talking and I am trying to engage him and get him to open up,” Mermuys said. “I want (Caboclo) to go in there stronger and dunk the basketball. He is such a finesse skill that length and I said sometimes you got to go in there and dunk it and he laughed.

“To see him go out there and dunk it, I laughed cause I thought it was funny that he actually did it.”

 

 

Caboclo has very limited basketball experience at the professional level, but those natural skills and physical attributes promise so much once he figures things out.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

NBA Toronto Raptors 905 Bruno Caboclo

Bruno Caboclo Focuses On Defense With Raptors 905

The Toronto Raptors sent Bruno Caboclo to the 905 in Mississauga for some badly needed playing time and to work on his game. The early results suggest there is a lot of work to do. Thru 8 NBA D-League games, Caboclo is shooting just 37.4 percent from the field and 25.9 percent from three-point range and early on, he was chucking a lot of shots. The good news has been, his defense is well ahead of his offense. Mississauga has been good for him.

“My main focus has been defense,” Caboclo told Pro Bball Report. “We work a lot (on defense) in practice, a lot and (Coach Mermuys) repeats it every time to be perfect, so we are doing our best to be in the right spot during the game.”

Talking with Caboclo, it become clear very quickly that 905 head coach Jesse Mermuys has the same focus as Raptors head coach Dwane Casey. Defense gets most of the attention in Mississauga.

“We’ve worked a lot on the defense,” Caboclo confirmed.

In games, it’s looked like Caboclo has been given free rein at the offensive end of the court and result has been a decent number of buckets coming at the expense of any measure of efficiency. However, looks can be deceiving and in recent games, the number of shot attempts has been coming down.

Bruno Caboclo shooting

“They let me play free, but after the game – not after the game, after one day – they talked, we watched videos, so I can try and not make the same mistakes as in other games,” Caboclo said.

The answer to what makes for a good shot really wasn’t that big of a surprise.

“An open shot is a good shot and a bad shot is if someone is close to you, so they can’t contest your shot,” Caboclo said. “I need to go strong to get an easy bucket.

“I am getting better every game.”

The Raptors drafted Caboclo as a project player in 2014 and the lack of a D-League affiliate last year really hampered his development. He has already played in more D-League games this season with the 905 than he did all of last year with Fort Wayne and more minutes than he played with both the Mad Ants and the Raptors combined last year.

The focus on defense is a good start. Caboclo has a lot to learn and defense will form a good base for this naturally gifted athlete. His shot will come around with time and practice. A season in Mississauga will give the Raptors their first real chance to evaluate the player they drafted in the first round a year ago.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

 

Raptors 905 Bruno Caboclo

Bruno Caboclo Posts Another Raptors 905 Double-Double

Toronto Raptors young forward Bruno Caboclo continues to see a lot of playing time with the 905 and he has been taking advantage of the very long leash afforded to him in the NBA D-League. In the 112-93 loss to the Red Claws at the Portland Expo Building he posted a 15 point 11 rebound double-double on 5-19 shooting from the field in 35.5 minutes of action.

Caboclo filled out his line by going 1-10 from three, grabbing a steal, blocking 3 shots and picking up 5 personal fouls. 905 head coach Jesse Mermuys wasn’t kidding when he said development of the players assigned to him by the Raptors would be his top priority.

Through his first four games with the 905 Caboclo is averaging 34.5 minutes, 16.3 field goal attempts, 8.5 three-point attempts, 8.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.8 blocks and 16.3 points. Ignore the poor shooting percentages and the team’s 0-4 record, this opportunity is just what Caboclo needs to develop his game.

Toronto Raptors center Lucas Nogueira had 4 points, 4 rebounds and 4 blocked shots in 13 minutes action – all in the first half.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

Media Release:

RECAP: MAINE RED CLAWS – 112, RAPTORS 905 – 93

Raptors 905’s Bruno Caboclo, Maine’s James Young record double-doubles

Maine Red Claws forward James Young had 26 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Red Claws to victory over Raptors 905 for a second straight evening Friday, this time 112-93 at Portland Exposition Building in Portland, Maine. Maine (3-1) also edged Raptors 905 (0-4) 109-104 Thursday night in the Mississauga club’s inaugural home game at Hershey Centre.

A two-point game in Maine’s favour after one quarter, the Red Claws expanded their lead in the second quarter to take a 46-34 advantage into the half. Maine widened the gap to 21 midway through the third quarter, but then Raptors 905 stormed back with a 20-6 run in the final five minutes of the frame to reduce the deficit to seven heading into the final period. That’s as close as Raptors 905 would get, as the Red Claws shot 61.9 percent (13-for-21) on field goals in fourth quarter to seal the win.

In addition to Young’s game highs in points and rebounds in his double-double effort, Maine had double-digit point totals from Omari Johnson (17), Jordan Mickey (17), Terry Rozier (16) and Coty Clarke (12). Jay Harris led the way offensively for Raptors 905, with a team-high 20 points off the bench, 13 of which came in the third quarter and all of which came in the second half. Melvin Johnson also had 15 points off the bench, while Scott Suggs (18) and Bruno Caboclo (15) also reached double-digit points on the night. In addition, Caboclo had a team-high 11 rebounds – all defensive – for his second double-double of the season.

The Red Claws led Raptors 905 in field goal percentage (43.3-41.1), three point percentage (36.4-28.6) and free throw percentage (85.7-68.8), while Raptors 905 topped Maine in points in the paint (46-38) and fast-break points (9-6). Both teams had 11 second-chance points.

Raptors 905 and the Red Claws tip off again Sunday, November 22 in Portland, Maine at 1 p.m.

 

 

Caboclo shooting

Bruno Caboclo Pours In 25 Points For Raptors 905

In his second game in as many nights against the Mad Ants in Fort Wayne, Toronto Raptors Bruno Caboclo found the range and poured in a game-high 25 points on 10-18 shooting from the field and 3-8 from deep in a 112-92 Raptors 905 loss. As head coach Jesse Mermuys insisted prior to the start of the season, the focus of the 905 is on player development with a strong emphasis on those players assigned to him by the Raptors.

 

 

Caboclo played 34.8 minutes and had an obvious green light to fire away whenever he was open. He also contributed 6 rebounds and a block. The young forward was getting pushed around by players with more experience and strength and it ran up his personal foul total to five, but he has already played more meaningful minutes this season with the 905 than he did all of last year in both the NBA and the NBA D-League.

Lucas Nogueira interview

After getting into foul trouble in his first game with the 905, center Lucas Nogueira managed to stay on the court for 27 minutes this time, however, he struggled from the field, missing open shots and chippies at the rim. He finished shooting just 3-11. It wasn’t all bad, Nogueira used his superior size and length to grab 9 rebounds and help his team control the glass 51-43.

As noted by the in-game play callers, as Nogueira goes, so go the 905 and with Nogueira having a bad night finishing around the rim and picking up two quick fouls in the first quarter, this game got quickly out-of-hand. Then the 905 gave this game away with 24 turnovers – 11 in the first quarter alone.

The D-League is just a little more relaxed about some things than the NBA. With the game winding down in the fourth quarter, about 40 kids that appeared to run out of the stands joined the Mad Ants dancers on the court during a timeout to get in on the entertainment.

Next up, Raptors 905 home opener is on Thursday, November 19 when they host the Maine Red Claws at Hershey Centre in Mississauga at 7:30 p.m.

 

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

Raptors 905 Media Release:

RECAP: FORT WAYNE MAD ANTS – 112, RAPTORS 905 – 92

Caboclo records game-high 25 points in defeat

The Fort Wayne Mad Ants carried a 23-point lead into the second half and held on the rest of the way for a 112-92 win over Raptors 905 on Sunday evening at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Mad Ants’ win moves them to 2-0 on the season, while Raptors 905 falls to 0-2.

Fort Wayne jumped out to an early 26-13 advantage after the first quarter, led by 10 points from Terran Petteway and aided by 11 opening-frame turnovers by Raptors 905. The Mississauga club lessened their turnovers to six in the second quarter, but the gap widened, as Fort Wayne outscored Raptors 905 37-27 in the quarter to take a 63-40 score into the break. A strong third quarter for Raptors 905 got the deficit back to 20, but the Mad Ants held them in check in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.

Leading Fort Wayne offensively were Petteway (22 points, four assists), Rakeem Christmas (19 points), Walter Lemon Jr. (game-high 16 bench points, four assists) and Shayne Whittington (12 points). Bruno Caboclo (game-high 25 points), Scott Suggs (18 points), Melvin Johnson (15 points) and Jay Harris (11 points) were the top offensive producers for Raptors 905. Fort Wayne’s Christmas and Raptors 905’s Lucas Nogueira shared the game high for rebounds with nine each.

The Mad Ants bested Raptors 905 in field goal percentage (45.4-41.2), three-point percentage (42.9-37.0), free throw percentage (75.0-63.2), points in the paint (48-36) and fast-break points (9-8), while Raptors 905 held the advantage in second-chance points (13-7).

Raptors 905 is back in action on Thursday, November 19 when it plays host to the Maine Red Claws at Hershey Centre in Mississauga at 7:30 p.m.

 

 

Raptors 905 Bruno Caboclo

Bruno Caboclo Double-Double In Raptors 905 Season Opener

Toronto Raptors forward Bruno Caboclo played 32.7 minutes and put up a 16 point 13 rebound double-double in the Raptors 905 inaugural season opener in Fort Wayne on Saturday night. It was a poor shooting night for both teams as neither squad cracked 40 percent from the field and Caboclo shot just 6-16 from the field and 2-9 from three-point range, however, the young rangy forward did lead all players on the glass and managed to swipe 3 steals as well.

Also assigned to the 905 by the Raptors is Lucas Nogueira and the center scored 11 points on 4-6 shooting to go with 9 boards and 3 blocked shots in just 21 minutes of action.  Recently acquired Nick Wiggins played 9 minutes and scored 2 points.

The game was tied at 80 when the Mad Ants Xavier Thames hit on a long range three-ball with time expiring. Final: Mad Ants 83, Raptors 905 80.

Check out the highlights:

 

 

In typical NBA D-League scheduling, the Raptors 905 will play the Mad Ants again on Sunday in Fort Wayne.

 

Press Release:

RECAP: FORT WAYNE MAD ANTS – 83, RAPTORS 905 – 80

Xavier Thames hits buzzer-beating three pointer to win

Fort Wayne Mad Ants guard Xavier Thames hit a buzzer-beating three pointer to lift his team to an 83-80 win over Raptors 905 Saturday evening in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The contest was the season-opening game for both clubs and the inaugural NBA Development League regular season game in the history of Raptors 905.

Tied 36-36 at the half, the contest was a back-and-forth affair through most of the first three quarters, with the Mad Ants stretching their lead to seven points for the first time in the game with under five minutes left in the third quarter. Fort Wayne’s 29-point third-frame outburst – led by nine points and six rebounds from CJ Fair in the quarter – put the Mad Ants ahead by 11 heading into the fourth quarter.

Raptors 905 stormed back in the final quarter, erasing the 13-point deficit they faced early in the fourth and taking a late lead. Tied 80-80 in the dying seconds, Fort Wayne’s Shayne Whittington stole the ball from Raptors 905’s Lucas Nogueira and the Mad Ants called time out. Thames accepted the subsequent inbound pass and hit a three-point shot as time expired to seal the game for Fort Wayne.

Rakeem Christmas led the Mad Ants offensively with a game-high 24 points. Fair added 19 points to go with nine rebounds, while Thames finished with 17 points and six assists. Scott Suggs had a team-high 20 points for Raptors 905, while Bruno Caboclo (16), Melvin Johnson (12) and Nogueira (11) also reached double digits. Caboclo also had a game-high 13 rebounds for the night’s only double-double.

The two teams were evenly matched in almost all shooting situations in the game. Raptors 905 narrowly led Fort Wayne in field goal percentage (39.5-36.4) and three-point percentage (26.9-25.0), while the Mad Ants edged Raptors 905 in free throw percentage (65.0-64.3), second-chance points (19-12) and fast-break points (3-2). Both clubs had 40 points in the paint.

Raptors 905 and the Mad Ants will go head-to-head again Sunday, November 15 at 5 p.m. in Fort Wayne.

 

 

 

Bruno Caboclo & Lucas Nogueira

Raptors Assign Bruno Caboclo And Lucas Nogueira To The 905

The Toronto Raptors have assigned sophomores Bruno Caboclo and Lucas Nogueira to their NBA D-League Affiliate, Raptors 905, in time for the team’s inaugural game in Fort Wayne on Saturday November 14th. Both players spent time  with the Mad Ants in Fort Wayne last season.

Caboclo and Nogueira have combined for just 6 minutes of playing time with the Raptors so far this season and the Raptors 905 provides an opportunity to work on their craft under the direction of head coach Jesse Mermuys who coached them in Summer League over the past two seasons and has been a Raptors assistant coach under the direction of Raptors head coach Dwane Casey.

Caboclo and Nogueira

Press release:

CABOCLO AND NOGUEIRA ASSIGNED TO RAPTORS 905

The Toronto Raptors announced Friday they have assigned forward Bruno Caboclo (cuh-BO-clo) and centre Lucas Nogueira (no-GARE-uh) to Raptors 905, the NBA Development League affiliate of the Raptors. Both players are expected to be in uniform Saturday for the first game in Raptors 905 history when the club visits the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (7:30 p.m. ET).

Caboclo made his NBA season debut Wednesday at Philadelphia going scoreless in one minute. He appeared in eight games with the Raptors last season totaling 10 points, two rebounds and 23 minutes. He saw action in seven NBA D-League contests in 2014-15 with Fort Wayne, averaging 3.4 points, 1.9 rebounds and 8.9 minutes. A native of Osasco, Brazil, Caboclo was selected 20th overall by Toronto in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Nogueira has appeared in two games this season with the Raptors, recording three points, one block and one steal in five minutes. In six games with Toronto last season, he totaled six points, 11 rebounds and 23 minutes. He also played in four NBA D-League games in 2014-15 with Fort Wayne, averaging 8.2 points, 10.0 rebounds and 20.1 minutes. A native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Nogueira was selected 16th overall by Boston in the 2013 NBA Draft. He was acquired by Toronto in a trade with Atlanta along with Lou Williams for John Salmons and a 2015 second-round pick June 30, 2014.

Both Caboclo and Nogueira will continue to be included on the Raptors’ roster and will remain on the team’s inactive list.

 

 

 

Caboclo and Nogueira

Head Coach Says Raptors 905 Is A Huge Advantage For Toronto

Last year the Toronto Raptors sent rookie Bruno Caboclo to Fort Wayne of the NBA D-League and the experience visibly crushed his confidence. The Mad Ants weren’t interested in developing a teenager and he sat as a DNP-CD for most of his time there. Raptors 905 head coach Jesse Mermuys is understandably working under a different set of criteria. Now when Raptors head coach Dwane Casey sends a player to the D-League he knows his guys are going to play. Owning a D-League team is a huge advantage for Toronto when it comes to developing players.

Raptors 905 coach Jesse Mermuys

“That’s why MLSE did an amazing job, Masai (Ujiri) and everybody, of getting this team to give these guys a chance to play and learn from their mistakes and get consistency to their game,” Mermuys told Pro Bball Report.

“The plan is to help Lucas (Nogueira), Bruno (Caboclo), Delon (Wright), guys that might come down here and be assigned give them experience so that they are not just sitting around watching up there (on the Raptors) all the time and then get guys that we have a liking to to get them under our umbrella. Guys like Ronald Roberts, guys like Sim (Bhullar), guys that we like, let’s develop them as well and who knows, maybe they’ll end up getting on the actual Raptors team some day in the future.”

What this means for the rest of the roster is it doesn’t matter how well you are playing, if the Raptors send down a player at your position, he’s playing and you’re sitting. The Raptors 905 exists solely for the benefit of the Raptors.

“To be able to manage expectations, you have to communicate openly and honestly on a daily basis with your team,” Mermuys explained. “I plan on being as raw, open and honest as I possibly can and let (the players) understand the reasons why – here’s the situation. I have already explained to Shannon (Scott) in front of the team, you can be getting a triple-double down here, (but) if Delon (Wright) comes down, he is going to play and that’s okay because that is why we all are here and have this opportunity.”

As a Raptors assistant coach and head coach of the Raptors Summer League team, Mermuys has a leg up on developing the Raptors rookies and sophomores when they get sent down. Both Caboclo and Nogueira know and respect Mermuys and are even looking forward to playing for him.

“It’s always nice to have a familiarity you know,” Mermuys said. “Being able to coach Bruno (Caboclo) and Lucas (Nogueira) now two summers in a row should pay dividends for us this season. Obviously we want them playing for the Raptors at a high level, but until they reach that point in their development, this is the next best thing for them and we are just going to keep trying to keep them on an uptick, keep improving until they reach their goal.

“Right now (Nogueira) is a talented guy. He is still a young guy, so it’s just about getting consistency and to get consistency, you got to play. You need that game experience and that is what this whole opportunity is going to provide for him.

“Obviously I can’t tell you how long (it will take Caboclo to develop), but I do know he works really hard. He wants it really bad which is the main thing and now that he is going to get an opportunity to play major minutes and play through mistakes and have these growing pains and learning experiences – who knows? This should really speed up the process.

“If you just take (Caboclo) from summer to summer, he has come a long ways. Now that’s not obviously close enough for the NBA – playing on a consistent basis, but he is making big strides. Just to see that improvement is exciting for us as an organization. Now we are adding the 905 experience for him, it should really help him out. I am pretty sure he is really excited to come down here and play.”

It’s going to be exciting for the fans in Mississauga to see Caboclo, Nogueira, Wright and possibly Norman Powell play for the Raptors 905 as well. It would be reasonable to expect one or two of these young players to be regularly featured on Toronto’s D-League team if they aren’t getting minutes with the big club. Fans can be assured they’ll be playing when they are in Mississauga as well. The “D” in D-League stands for development and these are the guys the Raptors want developed.

“We are really going to do the best we can as a coaching staff to keep development at the forefront of our mind game in and game out,” Mermuys said. “As long as we are not sacrificing development of our players and our young players in our organization for wins, we want to try and do both (win and develop), but sometimes you can’t do both.”

The Raptors 905 home opener is on November 19th. It will be interesting to see how long it takes before one or more of the players the Raptors are trying to develop arrive. It shouldn’t take long.

 

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

 

NBA Toronto Raptors Norman Powell & Delon Wright

Raptors Rookies And Sophomores Chances Fading Fast

The NBA preseason can represent a chance for inexperienced rookies and sophomores to make an impression on coaches and on a team like the Raptors where there are really no open spots in the rotation, it can be the last chance before an eventual assignment to the Raptors 905 in the NBA D-League. With preseason rapidly coming to a conclusion, the opportunities for rookies Delon Wright and Norman Powell and sophomores Bruno Caboclo and Lucas Nogueira to make an impression are fading fast.

“(Powell) is making a lot of mistakes like all rookies, but that’s what preseason is for – to give those guys minutes – Bruno (Caboclo) minutes, Norm (Powell) minutes, Delon (Wright) minutes, all those guys minutes,” explained head coach Dwane Casey. “(They) probably won’t be in the rotation when it becomes real, but this was a great time for those guys to get the experience, to get a taste of the NBA. For Delon to go against a guy like Andre Miller who’s a 20-year vet is a great experience for him. For Bruno to go against Tayshaun Prince is a great experience for him. So that’s what it’s for. No more, no less.”

Casey has been through the very rough patches that come with developing very young players and as the returning Atlantic Division winner with an available rotation of young and not so young veterans, he isn’t going to have a lot of patience for guys that he expects to make a lot of mistakes.

Guys like guard Norman Powell, who plays with a lot of energy and aggressiveness, but has a lot to learn. Powell has earned more playing time in the preseason than anyone else not expected to crack the rotation, averaging 16 minutes per game and 7 points on 44.4 percent shooting. It’s impossible not to notice him on the court, but as far as the Raptors rotation goes, he’s behind DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross and Cory Joseph. However, Powell is someone to watch this season, especially if Toronto runs into some injury problems with a couple of guards.

Wright has averaged 10 minutes a game so far in preseason and those veteran guards he’s gone up against have – on occasion – given him the rookie treatment. Wright looked great in summer league, but preseason play is well below the level of the regular season and it’s shown he still needs some more seasoning before being turned loose in a real game.

Caboclo has averaged 15 minutes in four preseason games and has looked a lot better than he did at the end of last season. He is showing more confidence and a better understanding of were he should be on the court. If the Raptors were a rebuilding team, he’d see a lot of minutes, but on this team, he needs to get his experience down the road in Mississauga.

Unfortunately, Nogueira is hurt again and that has to be a concern. The sophomore has a history of hamstring and groin injuries that have prevented the athletic 7-footer from displaying his potential. He needs to get and stay healthy, if only to work on his game with the Raptors 905.

Casey has made it clear not to read too much into anything you’ve seen in preseason to-date. These are not necessarily the combinations or rotations he’ll use in the regular season. “Normal” rotations won’t really be in effect until the final two preseason games against the Cavaliers in Toronto and the Wizards in Washington.

“I wouldn’t look at anything as far as rotations go,” Casey said. “We are just trying to get guys some minutes on the court more so than combinations or anything like that.

“Last couple of games (you’ll see real lineups), I’d say. We probably do it more in practice than in these games.”

Nothing here is really a surprise. Preseason is longer than necessary. Veteran players use the preseason to try out some things and shake off the rust. Coaches use the preseason to get a look at the young players under contract and guys on training camp invites they might need later in the season, next season or just to keep tabs on them.

As expected, none of the young guys has taken a spot in the rotation away from from a veteran during preseason and their chances for doing so are fading fast, but there’s a long regular season coming. Someone, at some point, for some yet to be determined reason, is going to get their shot.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.