Bruno Caboclo: Will it Ever Be Worth the Wait?

Bruno Caboclo is 22. He's not that 18-year-old Brazilian kid that we took in 2014. Are we ready to give up on him?

Since his inception as an NBA player - June 26th, 2014 - Bruno Caboclo has sadly been more of a running joke than a product. Due to his ludicrous length, and the dominance of Kevin Durant, followed by the emergence of Giannis, Bruno instantly drew comparisons to players like KD and the Greek Freak.

It began with,

“Did the Raptors draft the next KD?”, “The Raptors just drafted the Brazilian Kevin Durant”, “Are players like Bruno and Giannis the future of the NBA?”.

But we all know how it ended, right?

The culture transitioned as such,

“Bruno is two years away from being two years away”, “Still three years away!” , then “Officially just two years away”.

And now “Bruno is one year away!”.

But it’s tough to get excited. He’s posting mundane numbers in the G-League, and hasn’t made any sort of tangible leap that we’ve been expecting him to make. Obviously, his length and potential are still there, but he’s still playing like the 18-year-old Brazilian product we took a chance on four years ago.

2017-2018 G-League Season - 15.4/6.5/1.3 … 41.0% FG, 33.1% 3P in 31.4 minutes

We knew it would take a while, but we haven’t had much to sink our teeth into yet. He’s had some fun garbage time minutes here and there, but that’s it - and that’s over the past three-and-a-half years.

We all want him to succeed, but in the back of our minds that voice is still calling out … Maybe Masai flat out missed on this 18-year-old Brazilian kid.

Comparing him to the Class

The 2014 draft class isn’t overly weak, but it definitely isn’t the strongest. The lottery was headlined by the likes of Wiggins, Parker, Embiid, Aaron Gordon, Smart, and Lavine. There’s still a handful of guys who are at fork-in-the-road situations where their careers will surely be made or broken. Time will tell, but the 2014 class is rounding out to be labeled as, just, solid.

In the late first round carrying into the second, it’s tough to tell when the crop becomes a crapshoot.

Bruno was taken 20th, in front of the likes of,

  • Rodney Hood - 23rd
  • Clint Capela - 25th
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic - 27th
  • Kyle Anderson - 30th
  • Joe Harris - 33rd
  • Spencer Dinwiddie - 37th
  • Jerami Grant - 39th
  • Nikola Jokic - 41st
  • Dwight Powell - 45th
  • Jordan Clarkson - 46th

But with any pick you are inevitably going to miss on a handful of better options. Especially in the later picks, when it often seems as if there’s no rhyme or reason as to why certain players get overlooked, but simply a bad situation in College or a misuse of their abilities during development.

I believe Masai took this philosophy when drafting Bruno;

I’m not sold on any of these prospects, none of them stand out to me. I may as well take a chance on this Brazilian wing player with a 7’5 wingspan.

Fair enough.

But is it too late for him to pan out? Is there still time for Bruno to evolve from a running joke to a serviceable NBA player?

The Clock is Ticking. Is There Time for Bruno?

For what it’s worth, we catch a glimpse of the up-and-coming future of the NBA every single night. Here is a list of players younger than Bruno:

  • Ben Simmons
  • Karl-Anthony Towns
  • Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball
  • Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum
  • Donovan Mitchell
  • D’Angelo Russell

These are just the headliners. Seemingly, everywhere you turn there are solid NBA guys solidifying lofty minutes on good teams; Tyus Jones, Kelly Oubre Jr., Stanley Johnson, Jamal Murray, etc. all younger than Bruno as well.

We took OG this summer with the 23rd pick - three behind Bruno - and he’s produced infinitely more in his first few months then Bruno has in his 3 and-a-half years.

Bruno Caboclo is 22 and in his fourth year - is there time for him? With every passing day, the needle is being pushed closer to no.

Fiscally, There’s Good News

Bruno is in the last year of his rookie contract; an accepted team-option.

The good news? There’s a slim chance anyone else offers Bruno more than the minimum next year.

The bad news? There’s a reason why nobody will offer Bruno more than the minimum next year.

So fiscally, we can bring him back easily. If we really don’t want to give up on Bruno we don’t have to. We’d be able to bring him back for whatever we want. But there may be a catch.

What if Bruno’s camp thinks he’ll get NBA playing time with another organization? I personally don’t think he will, but what if a team like Phoenix/Dallas/Orlando approaches him and says,

If you come with us on a one-year minimum deal, you’ll have a spot to get minutes off the bench.”

That’s a benefit that the Raptors simply can’t offer.

Will a team approach Bruno and offer him this? Probably not … but hey, I don’t know what goes on inside the heads of certain GM’s, and frankly, not many others do either.

It’s a tricky conundrum that will truthfully only be solved with time. Personally, I just want to know that Bruno is doing his best. If he works his hardest, but his ceiling ends up being a fringe-NBA guy, oh well. As an organization, you won’t hit every pick, and every 6’9 guy with a 7’5 wingspan isn’t destined to be an NBA player (apparently).

But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t uneasy.

The 22-year-old Brazilian “kid” isn’t a kid anymore. He’s still years away from his “prime”, but everywhere you look spots are being filled by guys younger than him.

The answer to this question can only be solved with time, and the clock is ticking.

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