The Raptors surprised everyone this year by drafting a seemingly unknown Brazilian player, Bruno Caboclo, 20th overall.
And as much as I would like to give Ujiri the benefit of the doubt, I think we can object to this decision even without invoking the sports xenophobia that idiotic Raptors “fans” have already invoked to criticize this move. (“Raptors always draft foreign. Foreign players don’t have what it takes to compete. Blah blah blah.”)
I want to give Ujiri the benefit of the doubt, simply because he managed to move both Bargnani and Gay for actual assets, something I thought might have been impossible.
But, unfortunately, I remember Araujo. Now Babcock had more information about Araujo, but there are other warning signs about Caboclo:
- First, “nobody” knew about this guy, just a few teams. Either other teams have bad South American scouts, or most other teams didn’t think much of the reports. I think the latter is likely.
- It seems as though Ujiri based his opinion off a seeing the guy play a few times. That reminds me of numerous over-hypes of European players with not enough of a sample (not to mention Exum…) as well as numerous players who are drafted after strong NCAA tournament runs even though they weren’t on the radar before (cough Patrick O’Bryant cough).
- Though I am all for long term thinking, the Raps could have used a player who isn’t a “project” and there were numerous ones still available at 20. Yes, occasionally projects work out. But most of the time they simply do not.
- The Raps could have traded up to take Ennis at 18 – their true target – by packaging the 20 and the 37 (and perhaps something else?). I mean, couldn’t they have?
- The Raptors could have traded down to get Caboclo. Yes, they worried teams would take him before 37, but they could have, say, traded for the 25th or the 27th (or what have you) and some other pick and taken him there and had another player. I would have preferred that.
Needless to say I’m not happy. But an inkling of hope remains that Ujiri knows more than the rest of us. I think that’s probably not true, but I want to believe it.
With their second pick the Raps drafted another SF, which just goes to show they can’t have been drafting by need. (I like that part, anyway.)
I watched DeAndre Daniels in the tournament and I must say that, at least based on that poor sample, I am glad they went for somebody like him this low. Again, a bit of a project – he’s too skinny at the moment – but a guy who could conceivably be a decent backup 3.
I am more optimistic about Daniels than this “Brazilian Man of Mystery” that’s for sure.