The entire Toronto Raptors fanbase had a simultaneous myocardial infarction (a.k.a. heart attack) last night when Bruno Caboclo’s name was announced as the team’s draft pick at #20. The ESPN crew had no clue what to do or say when they heard the news – the poor sods were reduced to playing what little grainy footage they had on the guy playing in the Brazilian league. We who were expecting to hear “Shabazz Napier” or “K. J. McDaniels” had to scramble to Google, being sure we spelled his unusual (to me, anyway) name properly.
We don’t know much about Bruno, and we’re not likely to learn a whole bunch more until summer league, at the earliest. Instead, I want to focus on what the pick tells us about our GM, Masai Ujiri. In effect, what Masai did was say to the world “I’m not accepting what I view as scraps from the table – I’ll take my chances eating at that new place down the street”. He also said without words that he doesn’t view the draft as a chance to rework the Raptors’ roster. I’m happy to “see” this, as I don’t think we need to do much more than bring back the group which took us so far last season. Doing so is no easy task, but should that truly be his goal, I’m in favour.
To me, Masai is demonstrating consistency and independent-mindedness. He said prior to the draft that he would take the Best Available Player. Whether Bruno proves to be better than anyone else still on the board won’t be known for 3 years or more. What we know for certain today is Masai has the courage of his convictions. He and his team believed Bruno was the BAP, and they took him, regardless of criticism he had to know was going to shower down.
I’ll take a run at analyzing our pick at #37, forward Deandre Daniels of UConn, another time. For the moment, I’m content knowing our GM is nobody’s man but his own.