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NBA Vegas Summer League: Day 1 Games Recap

By Tamberlyn Richardson
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Oct 17, 2014; Wichita, KS, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Perry Jones (3) puts up a shot against Toronto Raptors forward Bruno Caboclo (5) during the fourth quarter at Intrust Bank Arena. Toronto won 109-90. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Raptors versus Sacramento Kings

The Raptors have made a concerted effort this summer to add defense, ball distributors and put a real value on 2-way player potential. Much of those qualities were on display in the opening game of the tournament.

. 90. 81. 68. 84

The two Brazilians each showcased growth and the 2 rookies also made a mark:

Bruno Caboclo who was mercilessly teased for being 2 years away from 2 years away is already showing why Masai Ujiri was super keen on the teenager. It’s a  year later and he’s still a teenager (19), but his maturity in just one year was on display for all to see. Mastering the English language and adding weight were priorities for the youngster who didn’t see much court time other than on a practice court this past season. That will change dramatically this season as he’ll either get minutes in the brand new dedicated D-League team: Raptors 905 (which refers to the area code of the new location) which is just under located less than an hour from  the Air Canada Center or he’ll spend time with the main club.

Watching the long lean Caboclo’s easy shot and those Go Go Gadget arms that jut out to clog passing lanes you can see why Ujiri was so high on him. He has a natural ease on the court often looking almost gazelle like on the floor.  He’s added weight, learned English and improved his ball handling skills. In my opinion we’ll see him in limited minutes this season on the varsity squad, but his NBA minutes aren’t more than a year away!

Lucas Nogueira has taken huge strides as well and with the exit of everyman Amir Johnson there will be a spot on the roster which should find Bebe getting some real playing time.

The real coup is the two rookies the Raptors drafted. Delon Wright may have only had 9 points but he also posted 9 assists without a single turnover and demonstrates a real calmness on the court that allows his teammates to operate with ease on the floor. His defense is a real plus and because he’s a natural point guard he’ll likely get minutes this season on the court playing in tandem with Kyle Lowry or Cory Joseph.

And, the biggest surprise is Norman Powell who was selected 46th and expected to bring tenacious defense has been a real find because his shot is much better than advertised. He scored 20 points, defended full court and will really push Terrence Ross who actually needs to feel the heat to perform!

As for Sacramento Willie Cauley-Stein  you can see how he’ll be a big addition defensively to the Kings and I’m anxious to see how much freedom DeMarcus Cousins will get playing beside him. His offensive game needs to develop, but the ceiling of a Tyson Chandler isn’t out of the question.

Like the Rockets are my home Western team the Raptors are literally my home Eastern team (I live in Toronto), so this review is a bit more extensive since I know the team well.

Next: Hawks vs Nuggets

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