The Toronto Raptors have a strong history of drafting under Masai Ujiri, as OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam became stars despite the fact they were not picked very high. One of the few noteworthy missteps the team has made in the last few years was Brazilian forward Bruno Caboclo.
The death knell for Caboclo’s NBA career came on draft night, as the infamous “two years away from being two years away” quote never seemed to leave. Caboclo scored just a handful of baskets in an equally small handful of games with Toronto before becoming another nomadic basketball journeyman.
It appears as though “two years” has finally come, as the Caboclo who fizzled out of the NBA is not the Caboclo currently leading the Brazilian national team to victories in the 2023 FIBA World Cup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, former Raptors coaching candidate Jordi Fernandez, and the rest of Canada felt the full brunt of Cabolco’s sting.
Brazil pulled off an astounding 69-65 upset of Canada. Not only did Caboclo’s versatile defense play a huge role in limiting the Canadians to just 39% shooting from the field, but he led Brazil with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Caboclo is tormenting Canada all these years later.
Toronto Raptors bust Bruno Caboclo helps Brazil beat Canada.
Caboclo bounced around as a bench player with teams like the Grizzlies and Rockets after leaving Toronto. After returning to his native Brazil, Caboclo went to Europe, playing with Ratiopharm Ulm in Germany and Umana Reyer Venezia (his current team) in Italy.
Part of what made Caboclo a tough sell for the Raptors’ coaching staff was the fact he never developed a role with the Raptors. For Brazil, Caboclo has become a rim-running big man on offense and a switchable defender on the other end of the floor.
Caboclo had a brief tryout with the Celtics last season, even though he didn’t stick around. After playing such a pivotal role for Brazil, needling a Canadian/Raptors hybrid fanbase that had to watch him stay anchored to the bench while he’s at it, it’s not unrealistic to assume that he could get one more shot.
The Raptors never turned Caboclo into anything worth celebrating, but he has become someone who can impact the international stage through his own hard work. At 27 years old, Caboclo has more than enough gas left in the tank for NBA teams who want a promising bench asset.