The Toronto Raptors made two selections in this year’s draft, one first-round pick and one second-round pick, and garnered headlines for perhaps the most surprising and head-scratching selection of the evening. After a disappointing first-round exit at the hands of the Brooklyn Nets and the impending potential free agency of star guard Kyle Lowry, the Raptors needed to add talent and depth to their core group. Here are my grades for each of their picks.
No. 20, SF Bruno Caboclo, Brazil
This pick left the basketball world scratching their heads like a third grader with a lice condition. The small forward from Brazil amassed little to no buzz leading up to draft night. He is a 6-foot-9 swingman who sports a massive 7-foot-7 wingspan, which is definitely the most intriguing aspect of his unknown game.
He can shoot the ball fairly well, but the biggest problem with this pick is that Caboclo could have very well been playing against a high school JV team in Sao Paolo. He simply hasn’t played against NBA-quality professionals enough to justify where he was selected. GM Masai Ujiri may have seen promise from Caboclo in person, but you’d be hard-pressed to find one single draft expert who didn’t think the Brazilian forward would be available at the Raptors’ 37th pick in the second round.
With that said, they surely missed out on potential game-changers. If small forward was their focus because of Terrence Ross‘ uncertainty, a more suitable choice would have been someone like Cleanthony Early, a long, athletic, proven wingman who defends and scores.
Think about this: with their selection of Caboclo, they passed on Shabazz Napier, who perhaps could have started if Lowry leaves, Rodney Hood, P.J. Hairston, Jordan Adams and Early — for the most unknown name and biggest risk in the draft. Fran Fraschilla dubbed him “the Brazilian Kevin Durant.” I highly doubt it.
No. 37 Overall, SF DeAndre Daniels, Connecticut
The Raptors doubled up on small forwards with their second-round selection, a selection that I don’t hate, but equally do not love.
Daniels does almost the same thing that Caboclo does, but did it on a National Championship UConn team in the shadow of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright. He was relatively inconsistent during his three-year stint in college, but performed admirably on the Huskies’ championship run, which may have increased his draft stock.
This pick makes some sense at No. 37, but only loads up the SF position for the Raptors despite their need for a guard replacement for Lowry and/or a center. Daniels is a talented player and may see playing time in his rookie campaign, but doesn’t complete satisfy the imperative need Toronto has.
Jordan Clarkson and Russ Smith, both athletic, capable guards, may have been a good fit to play alongside Greivis Vasquez and/or Lowry, depending on who they keep and who they let go. Daniels isn’t a great pick, but it’s not a terrible one either.
The Raptors showed no promise to get any better in 2015. They took the ultimate gamble of this draft, and they simply hope that it will one day pay off.
Overall Grade: D