Houston Rockets: Long, athletic forward just what the doctor ordered

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 13: Bruno Caboclo #20 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 13: Bruno Caboclo #20 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets added a long athletic forward in Bruno Caboclo. This depth piece is exactly what the team needs off the bench right now.

The Houston Rockets have been in search of extra depth and defense on the wing for almost a month now. There has been a ton of speculation upon who the team would target, probably via trade rather than through free agency.

After officially adding Carmelo Anthony, a wing who is more immensely more proficient on the offensive end than the defensive end, this was still a need for the Rockets. Melo will add another option along the three-point line to help mitigate the loss of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute but, he doesn’t add the defense those two brought.

Adding James Ennis helps alleviate that problem. In fact, he’ll likely be just as good as LMM on defense but, he’s faster and more efficient on offensive making him a better fit. However, he can’t make up for two men’s defense.

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So, who would it be? Would it be Kent Bazemore, an undersized wing that plays great defense with an excellent three-point shot from Atlanta? How about James Johnson from the Heat? Or perhaps Justise Winslow is thrown into the mix? Maybe even Nic Batum from the Hornets?

All of these moves still have the capability of going down. The Houston Rockets seem hellbent on offloading Ryan Anderson’s contract in an effort to add a defensive wing but, for now, the Rockets have gone a different route. A route with a lot less acumen but a whole lot of potential.

Enter soon to be 23 year old Bruno Caboclo out of Brazil. Caboclo is by many definitions, a draft bust. He was selected 20th overall in 2014 by the Toronto Raptors at 19 years old. However, he never materialized as a rotational player for them. However, it’s easy to argue he shouldn’t have been drafted that high in the first place.

Caboclo just hasn’t produced at the NBA level. For his career, he’s averaged 1.5 points, 1.0 rebounds, and 0.3 assists per game. These numbers are straight abysmal and don’t deserve a spot on a roster.

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However, looking at his G-League stats, he has the makings of a solid three-and-D player. And, he is definitely still young enough to actualize this potential. He averaged14.2 points per game, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game. He also averaged over a steal and block a game. He also made threes a 35% clip. In fact, the best game of his career came in against the Houston Rockets G-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

Those numbers will play in the NBA, no doubt. He just hasn’t had a shot at consistent minutes to show that off in the NBA. Are the Houston Rockets the best team to try to prove himself? Probably not, minutes will be hard to come by on this rotation but, if he can show out with RGV he’ll have a chance to prove what he’s got at the NBA level.

The Houston Rockets are extremely adept at unlocking guys three-point potential. If Caboclo can come in and utilize he’s terrific length on the edge to lock down opposing players and work on his three-point shot, the Rockets could have just found a diamond in the rough.

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Finding, developing, and unlocking guys like Caboclo are how contenders become perennial contenders. Caboclo may not make a tremendous impact right away but, he has a shot to become a contributor down the road.