First things first. In no way shape or form is the nickname “The Brazilian Kevin Durant” fair to Bruno Caboclo, the Raptors, Masai Ujiri or The Real Kevin Durant. But with that said, that is how Bruno (how can I not call him Bruno right?) was described by Fran Fraschilla, who was the only person on ESPN’s Draft panel who had heard of this Brazilian KD.
Its being reported that the Raptors were most likely going to take Tyler Ennis with their 20th pick and then take Bruno with their second round selection. But when the Suns stole Ennis at 18, the Raptors became worried that Bruno would be gone by the time they picked again at 37. So they decided to roll the dice at take him at 20. “We decided we lost one, we’re not going to lose another one. We jumped on it” said Ujiri in his post draft presser.
Yes its a reach, but lets understand a few things. Its also being reported that Bruno didn’t work out for anyone other than the Raptors because they promised to take him in the second round. So that could be why the pick seemed to come out of nowhere, even for the entire draft panel.
Over the next few days talking heads will be asked their opinions on Bruno Caboclo and they will have no idea what they’re talking about. It won’t be their faults, but in reality they will only be able to go off of what a Raptors representative tells them or from viewing Youtube clips. So if you’re a rattled Raptors fan, don’t be ashamed of the hour plus; that you’ll spend on youtube looking for highlights of your boy Bruno. I’ll even help you get you started. And in fact this video is much better than the one that the Raptors sent out above.
Now, the Raptors probably should have spent the night gathering the best footage possible and then releasing that tweet tomorrow morning to catch the day’s news cycle. Because I must say, I’m not that impressed with either clip. But then again I’m not Masai Ujiri or the other paid scouts that the Raptors employ to know these things. The same scouts that Mr. Ujiri says have worked Bruno out multiple times.
So with that said, because it is Masai that we’re dealing with, I will trust him. Its still early, but in his short tenure he’s done more than enough to earn the trust of Raptor Nation. Does it help that ESPN’s International Scout said that Bruno’s “Two year’s away, from being two years away”? Of course not. Fans will still be upset, the rest of the media will pretend to know and the organization will ask for everyone’s patience….Yes even the other players on the team. That means you Patrick Patterson, who had this response to the Raptors pick:
But lets get back to the fans for as second. Fans, fear the unknown. They’d rather cheer for someone that they know, someone that they have some relationship with prior to draft night. They know that Tyler Ennis is Canadian. They know that Shabazz Napier has won two national championships at UConn. So as a fan, they would rather root for that story, rather than someone that they’re hearing about for the first time. I can’t lie, it was a weird feeling right after they announced the Raptors pick. I didn’t know what to think. But a friend quickly reminded me of being at the ACC a few years back covering the NBA draft and having the exact same feeling. After the pick everyone in the media room was scrambling trying to figure out how to pronounce the name of the Raptors selection. Then even the next day everyone from fans, media and yes even some of the players were still confused by some new Lithuanian kid that wouldn’t even be on the team for at least another year.
Is this the same situation? No, not exactly. Jonas Valanciunas was widely regarded as a projected top 5 pick. But the reaction following this draft night will be the exact same. Again…fans will be pissed, the media will pretend to know and the organization will ask for patience.
Masai Ujiri said in his post draft presser that the Raptors had been scouting Bruno for a while now and that they’ve made multiple trips to Brazil to see him play. He also said that they’d recently sent Coach Casey to work him out and that the coach liked what he saw.
So now what? To be honest, Raptor fans have nothing else to do but to trust in Masai. You can’t praise him for being the genius that somehow got rid of Andrea Bargnani and Rudy Gay; but then lose all faith following the 20th pick in the draft. That logic doesn’t really make sense. So as difficult as it will be, the fans have to trust in Masai Ujiri’s plan.
So, despite the claims of Bruno being “two years away, from being two years away…” Ujiri says that he expects Caboclo to be on the roster NEXT SEASON. In fact, he said that Bruno will head to LA to work out with “DeMar, Amir, Terrance and those guys” so that he gets to know them right away. It won’t take long for us to find out how raw Bruno is, as Ujiri also says that he will be on the Raptors Summer League team.
So the fans will just have to accept the fact that as of now, very few people actually know anything about Bruno Caboclo. But that will change sooner rather than later. Will he actually be “The Brazilian Kevin Durant” probably not. Will he be the next Rafael Araujo? Hopefully not. But fans will look forward to finding out where his career does fall in between those polar opposite careers. Is that crazy, of course it is. That’s a massive gap. That’s why fans were nervous that the NBA’s investigative guru Adrian Wojnarowski reported every single pick before it happened EXCEPT for the Raptors. Its also why fans were nervous after the pick that Bruno could be next in the long line of Araujo, Radojević, Michael Bradley, Joey Graham…(ok, ok I’m sorry I’ll stop). But fans were nervous, because that’s what fans do. They ride the wave. That’s the beauty of being a fan. The blind faith to trust the people within an organization for no other reason other than their affiliation with your team. Its what made the Raptors playoff run so special. The sudden reminder that they or should I say we, as in #WeTheNorth do exist. And so we do trust in Masai and thus…we must trust in Bruno….at least for a little while.
As always, just my thoughts. Right or wrong…just what I’m feeling at the time