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A Lack Of Confidence Still Holds Bruno Caboclo Back

Even the Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri has been forced to admit he made a mistake drafting Bruno Caboclo in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft telling Pro Bball Report, “it’s almost like he’s gone thru college on our team.”

Too young, too inexperienced and all too often ignored because he just wasn’t ready for the NBA, what little confidence Caboclo had coming into the NBA was quickly shattered and continues to hold him back right to the present day.

After a wasted rookie season, Caboclo finally got regular minutes with the Raptors own D-League affiliate, the 905, in each of the past two seasons, but aside from a few flashes, his play was uninspiring even at this level until last season’s D-League playoffs.

Then, for seven games, he finally showed some potential by averaging 11.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks while shooting 41.9 percent from three as the 905 rolled to the championship. Sure the Raptors rookies assigned to the 905, Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet, were still noticeably better, but at least Caboclo was making a significant contribution on a consistent basis.

“We had a really good team and in the playoffs everyone pushed their hardest,” Caboclo recently told Pro Bball Report. “I had to push my hardest and try to lead the team and I had good games.

“I think it was confidence. I had a lot of games with the 905 so I was very confident and I was taking (better) shots than I take normally and hit a very good percentage.”

Now heading into his fourth and final season on his rookie deal, Caboclo needed to show the confidence and effectiveness demonstrated during the D-League playoffs was just the first step.

“I think I got a lot better in the summer,” Caboclo said. “I really worked hard in the summer. I had a very good training camp. (But), in the preseason I played a couple of games and didn’t do that well and after that I didn’t have more opportunities. I am still working to be ready for the next opportunity I am going to get.”

To say Caboclo blew it in preseason would be an understatement. In four preseason appearances he averaged 13 minutes, 2 points, 2 rebounds and 0.25 blocks. He shot 17.6 percent from the field and 14.3 percent from three. He was terrible and a trip back to the Raptors 905 became a certainty.

Unfortunately this has been a consistent theme with Caboclo. He has never been confident or comfortable with the big club and the “good feelings” he develops in Mississauga with the 905 haven’t translated to the Air Canada Centre.

“I think I can do it in the NBA,” Caboclo said. “The only thing is confidence. I am more confident now and I am just waiting for my opportunity.”

From a practical standpoint, the 22-year-old forward needs to find the confidence to play with the big club on his own and fast. If he gets a chance with the Raptors this season, he’ll be on a very short leash.

The good news is that he has been playing better at the G-league level averaging career bests of 17 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 2.1 blocks thru his first 10 games. He’s also shooting a career best 35.6 percent from three and 88.6 percent from the free throw line. All those numbers are big improvements over last season. Take out one bad shooting game and Caboclo has been hitting over 40 percent of his three-pointers. That promising jump shot finally seems to be finding the bottom of the net on a consistent basis.

However, it almost doesn’t matter what Caboclo does at this point with respect to his future in Toronto.

Pascal Siakam has won the battle for backup power forward and could well be the starter down the road. Rookie OG Anunoby has already shown more promise than Caboclo as the combo forward of the future in Toronto and the veteran C.J. Miles is proving to be better than advertised as a small forward/ stretch four.

Head coach Dwane Casey is more likely to trust the undrafted rookie Alfonzo McKinnie in times of desperation than a Caboclo who has disappointed on numerous prior occasions.

The best case for Caboclo is to continue upping his game in the G-League and hope for a trade to a team that has minutes for a still developing prospect and will give him time to find some confidence at the NBA level.

This kid still looks like a version of KD-lite and if he could find some confidence to play with the big boys, maybe that’s still a possibility. It just isn’t going to happen with the Raptors.





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.




2 thoughts on “A Lack Of Confidence Still Holds Bruno Caboclo Back

  1. Stewart Gates

    What a negative article…but Stephen is known for being mpre negative than most although he is factually pretty accurate, it is just negative.

    The truth is that Bruno has been having a great year in the G-Leauge finally and he has just been pumped a bit in the line-up because of they great play of pur young guys and he should still spend 1 more year or atleast a few more months growwing his game in the G-Leauge.

    In the first 4 or 5 G-Leauge games he looked like a star so as a guy that turned 22 last month he just has needed more minutes in the G-League and eventually some minutes in the main team. Keep in mind the rookie of the year Ben Simmons will ve almost 22 by the summer when he is awarded with his Rookie of the year troughy.

    We started a G-League fran hise for him basically but it only started last year so he was really a roomie last year. As the year goes he will build up his stock and be in major demand by the spring just as we have likely just traded away Jonas plus we will likely be down atleast 1 big due to injurry.

    It is beyond ignorant to insult the poor kid and demand thar the Raptors set him free for nothing because we are holding him back..? If we are in the same situation net yeat than yes we can start to think about a trade, but the way he started he could easily turn into the best G-League player this year.

    To give up now and lose everthing we have invested in Bruno would ignorant. It is actually a great situation for both because he will beed to earn his minutes because we gave so much other young talent to compete with.

    Did the Spurs cut players like Green, Joseph, Mills or Murray because the couldn’t gurantee them minutes as rookies or second year players…?? Lol

    The G-Leauge is the development league and as long as Bruno keeps engaged and improving he will be getting decent minutes in the NBA soon.

    We sent downt all our rookies last year and look at them now…it’s insane how much they inproved and just look at Pascal as an example. Was teduced to the 14th man on the roster late lady year but blew up in the G-League anf is now one of pur best players. He turned into the G-League MVP and had carried over the confidence to this year.

    In one breath you are saying he needs to get confidence than the next you are saying he is needs to leave to anothet NBA team…lol?

    He just turned 22 all he needa tp do 8s spend a few morw months in thw G-League, keep inproving and in 2 to 3 months a legitimate opportunity will open up and if he is gradually improvinging than he will likely sease it.

    Settle down…he is a year or 2 behind but he is just now finally starting to show some promise…why give up on an investment now?

    He is an asset that is only just now starting to appreciate, hopefully he grows enough to snare a big roke on out main squad but either way if we continue the course he will be a nice rotation player for us or a very tradable asset thay may be packaged to help us get a star down the road.

  2. Stewart Gates

    You just know that the second we give up on him Sanintonio or possibly a Milwaukee or Miami like team will swoop right in and make him a

    He actually currently looks like one of the best 22 year old’s not yet playing in the NBA.

    Giving up now would be so foolosh…he is 1 year younger than Pascal and Pascal has really conly blew up in the past 4 weeks and Wright is almost years older yet we talk about all his promise.

    Bruno is a nice prospect at barely 22. He is a nice kid but because he looks and acts like a 20 year old he is about 2 years behind schedule.

    If he were to declare for the draft this year he would be a top 15 pick for sure. Alot of teams would kill to me in our situation. Just as JV is finally traded plus just as Serge starts to slow down we will have Pascal to step in to start and Bruno to step in to play 20 to 25 minutes a game.

    Having a transition and succession plan is the way teams like Sanintonio keeps competitive for over 20 straight years.

    Not every pick can ve a home run from day 1, but Bruno could be a solid NBA pro in less than 18 months and will only go up in value.

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