For the second time this season the Toronto Raptors have assigned rookie forward Bruno Caboclo to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA D-League and for the second time he got a chilly reception from the team that was supposed to be giving him some badly needed playing time. To make matters worse, the hot-blooded Brazilian didn’t even get a break from the frigid Canadian winter weather.
As Caboclo was heading down to Fort Wayne on Wednesday, it was a chilly -11 degrees Celsius, and then it got colder. On Thursday it was -14 and Friday’s forecast high is -9. His playing time on Thursday night at the DeltaPlex Arena didn’t warm him up either. In front of 1,835 fans, Caboclo played all of 3.5 minutes in the first half, shooting 1-2 for 3 points, to go with 1 offensive rebound and 1 turnover. He watched the entire second half from the bench, so much for getting experience in the D-League.
Caboclo’s time with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants only serves to prove just how badly the Raptors need their own NBA D-League affiliate. Rookies Lucas Nogueira and Caboclo are not going to see much playing time on the second place Raptors and trips to the independent Mad Ants have been almost a total waste. If Toronto wants to develop rookies taken late in the draft, they had better invest in their own minor league team. Otherwise they may as well take a page from those strong Phoenix Suns teams of 8-10 years ago and just start selling off their draft picks for cash.
“(Caboclo) is working. He is working individually every day,” Casey said. “He is growing. I wish there were situations where we could get him in games, but he hasn’t. (He’ll) probably spend some time in the D-League in the future just to get some games under his belt. I wish we had more opportunities for him.”