Former Raptors pick Lucas Nogueira returns to Canada in CEBL

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 03: Lucas Nogueira #92 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 03: Lucas Nogueira #92 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

Before Masai Ujiri got his feet under him with the Toronto Raptors, the franchise’s NBA Draft history was littered with mistakes in and near the lottery. Ujiri’s first few years with the Raptors didn’t produce excellent drafts, with the addition of Lucas “Bebe” Nogueira drawing attention.

Projecting a player as young as Nogueira who only has experience against a lower level of competition is always a challenge. While Toronto saw a raw bucket of skills to work with, other teams saw someone that was too inexperienced to make an impact in the pros.

Though no one can accuse him of not trying his hardest, Nogueira didn’t last long-term with the Raptors. However, something about Canada appears to have stuck with him, as the next step in his basketball career is bringing him back to Ontario for the summer.

Nogueira signed with the Guelph Nighthawks of the CEBL. While the league made headlines for signing J Cole, Nogueria’s signing is more in line with that of former Raptor Jalen Harris. Both of them are trying everything they can to sign a professional contract with a reputable team by putting some solid performances on tape.

Toronto Raptors draftee Lucas Nogueira is back in Canada.

Nogueira was drafted 16th overall in the 2013 NBA Draft (one pick after Giannis Antetokounmpo, ouch) by the Boston Celtics. After some draft-day dealing sent his right to Dallas and Atlanta, the Raptors eventually acquired Nogueira with Lou Williams in exchange for John Salmons.

While Nogueira did shoot 63% from the field in his career, he averaged just 3.2 points and 2.8 rebounds per game during his four-season stint. 2016-17, where he recorded 4.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, is regarded as his best season. Not exactly ideal for a first-round pick.

Nogueira retired from basketball in 2021 after stops in Spain, Bahrain, and his native Brazil. Nogueira suited up for Sao Paulo, who has had some success in the last few seasons with him back in the post. Fans in Canada will have a chance to see how he has developed. Perhaps he could be the rim protector the Nighthawks need to get an edge.

Nogueira came to the Raptors as an exceedingly raw prospect, and he arrived before Toronto’s layer development culture was as strong and robust as it is today. While he never really found his footing in the NBA, Nogueira is still trying his best to make a career out of basketball.

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