The Raptors 905 could not be beat this week, and it’s largely thanks to two of their most prominent players. Which two?
Read this week’s Prospect Report to get the full details.
Age: 25 Years, 4 Months
This Week: (1 Game vs Wisconsin Herd) 7PTS; 3-13 FG (23%), 1-6 3PT (17%); 3RB; 3 AST; 1 STL; 3 TO; +9
After spending extended time with the mother club, McKinnie was sent down for his lone assignment this week against Wisconsin Herd.
It’s tough to find something useful to write about McKinnie’s performance against the Herd, at least, nothing that doesn’t appear on his scouting report. I’m stunned that McKinnie only had three rebounds since he was actively trying to use his athleticism battling for rebounds. McKinnie did hit one three-point shot, and the entire motion looked smooth.
This is a night that McKinnie would most likely want to forget. His three-point shots weren’t on point, and he badly missed them. Almost all of McKinnie’s 3-point attempts were all wide-open and caught them in rhythm. It got to a point where McKinnie’s confidence took a hit, even his shots inside the arc weren’t falling, he’s hesitating shots to a point where he’s passing them up, and ending up with a turnover. McKinnie’s lack of handle and quick first step contributed to his struggles as either his drives were nicely contested, or he had to settle for a long jumper because he could not get by his defender.
It feels like a 905 game with McKinnie on the roster is not complete with a highlight putback jam. Bruno missed a top of the key three-point shot and McKinnie got up quick and high for the putback dunk.
Age: 24 Years, 10 Months
This Week: 9 PPG; 9-17 FG (53%); 4/10 3PT (40%); 6.3 REB; 1 AST; 0.67 STL; 0.33 BLK; 1.33 TO; +6
Give this guy Mo’ Shats!
It looks like Miller’s rounding into shape after starting the season injured, as this week might be his most consistent defensive effort so far. I know he can shoot the 3, but this week convinced me that Miller could be a 3-and-D guy.
Against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Miller was locked in defensively — whether he’s guarding Edmond Sumner to defending the post against DeQuan Jones. Miller looked good trying to stay in front of his man, mixing it up in the paint, and contesting for rebounds. Offensively, Miller is very efficient with his shots, hitting 40% from deep, and a ridiculous 71% inside the arc this week. Coach Jerry Stackhouse needs to get this guy more shots, as it’s a shame that Lorenzo Brown shoots three times more than Miller.
Miller has a tendency to be too passive and not get involved in offensive possessions that are not designed for him. Against the Mad Ants, Miller is too good not to take a shot the entire first quarter, with his first attempt coming in with about five minutes left in the second quarter, and ending up with only three field goal attempts for the game. Against Delaware 87ers, he looked uninvolved most of the first half.
Lastly, while Miller is almost money if he’s open around the perimeter, the majority of his misses around the three-point line are either contested off the catch-and-shoot or if he had to create a shot off the dribble.
It won’t show on any stat line, but Malcolm Miller is starting to compile a collection of mixtape-worthy missed chase-down blocks. For the past few games, it looks like he’s got at least one of that solid effort where he would try to chase down block a fastbreak attempt by the opponent, and just barely missing it. Looking forward to seeing him connect on one.
Age: 27 Years, 5 Months
This Week: 17 PPG; 21-52 FG (40%); 1-7 3PT (14%); 5.3 REB; 8.7 AST; 1 STL; 3 TO; +18
This week, we witnessed three different versions of Brown. There’s a Brown that showed that he could carry a team on his back (28/9/8 vs. Fort Wayne Mad Ants). There’s also a stubborn Brown that won’t let a miserable shooting night stop him from shooting (4-of-20 FG vs. Delaware 87ers). Lastly, There’s also a version of Brown that could play an efficient all-around game without being too much of a ball dominant (vs. Wisconsin Herd).
Brown’s play against the Mad Ants was a perfect throwback to the scoring guards in the 2000s. It was very ball dominant, somewhat inefficient, and yet Brown put the team on his back, imposing his will, destroying his defender, and going against multiple defenders at times.
Brown’s third-quarter assault was more than enough to break the Mad Ants’ spirit, as he did not have to play a single minute in the final period. In contrast, against the Herd, Brown demonstrated that he could be a ball moving first-shoot second point guard, looking to get the ball rolling and creating shot opportunities for his teammates.
Brown’s limited range reared its ugly head against the 87ers. Defenders were playing Brown for the drive/short mid-range shot, and he was hesitant shooting from the perimeter at times, stubbornly going into the paint with multiple defenders waiting for him instead of letting the game come to him and get his teammates more involved.
Brown’s shoot-first mentality would sometimes get the best of him, with multiple occasions on the fast break or a drive where he’s got a wide-open teammate, but he’s got complete tunnel vision. Against the Mad Ants, there was a play where Miller made a nice cut under the basket but did not receive a pass. Malcolm was yelling out of frustration that he was open, and Brown ended up turning the ball over on the ensuing play.
What’s more disappointing is that Brown’s “D” took a dip this week. Again, against the 87ers, Brown was repeatedly blown by Askia Booker, and it looks like he’s prone to falling asleep with his man scoring off a backdoor cut. Brown also keeps getting caught on 1-5 picks as if he’s seeing this for the first time like Isaiah Thomas.
Brown’s deceptive athleticism was on display during a broken play where Caboclo’s entry pass to Fuquan Edwin on the post got deflected, and Brown put on the jets to scoop the loose ball for an emphatic two-handed dunk.
Age: 22 Years, 4 Months
This Week: 15.3 PPG; 18-40 FG (45%); 10/23 (43.5%); 11 REB; 1.7 AST; 2.33 STL; 2.67 BLK; +33
Bruno’s trending up, and for all the right reasons.
We saw glimpses last year, and this year, it’s coming to fruition that Caboclo is just a sound box-out skill or a decent appropriation of his athleticism/physical tools to be able to average a double-double.
I’ve been hard on Caboclo about his boxing-out skill, his awareness of rebound plays unfolding after contesting the previous shot, and his willingness to get into the paint to grab the rebound in traffic. This week, Caboclo did a better job at chasing rebounds and tried harder at boxing-out. The result: Caboclo with three-straight games of double-figure rebounds, which is something that he hasn’t done all season long. For comparison, Caboclo only had two regular season games where he notched 10 or more rebounds. Here’s another supporting evidence: this week, Caboclo grabbed eight offensive rebounds. Before this week, you would have to go through all of Caboclo’s games going back to Dec 31, 2017, to get a total of 8 offensive rebounds (an 8-game stretch).
Harping more on Caboclo’s defense, after a sub-par December, Caboclo bounced back as he’s one of only four players who have at least 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks for the entire month of January. This defensive feat is not an aberration as Caboclo started off the month of November on this list, and he was with the select company at that time: Khem Birch, James Michael McAdoo, and Christian Wood.
For anyone looking for distinct improvement on Caboclo’s defense with a supporting video for comparison, remember when Caboclo was in tears after getting dunked on by CJ Fair on a fast break transition? Caboclo did what most raw athletes would do: give the full lane and try to block the dunk upstairs. Against the Herd, twice, Ricky Ledo had a fast break 1-on-1 against Caboclo. Caboclo did a great job reading Ledo’s moves, got in front of him to slow him enough, and easily contested the shot for a block. Yes, he did this twice.
Offensively, Caboclo started off slow and finished strong this week, capping it off with a 25pt/7-threes output against the Herd. Coach Jerry Steakhouse is doing a great job providing a steady diet of play calls to get Caboclo in position to take a shot around the perimeter, and (patiently) letting Bruno create something if the three-point shot is not available (to a mixed, somewhat mostly bad result).
Caboclo still struggles to create his offense, especially when it comes to driving to the basket. I’m not sure if Caboclo’s dribbling too high, or he’s moving too slow, or he’s not making good use of his off-arm to provide an extra layer of protection. Maybe it’s all three. I don’t know why Caboclo likes to drive left, perhaps because the defenders are making him, but he looks more decisive going left last season than right now.
Against the Herd, Caboclo did something we don’t usually see from him. After a Davion Berry miss from the perimeter, Caboclo sprinted to the paint, went for the rebound with his go-go-gadget arms over Herd’s Cliff Alexander who had the inside position over Shevon Thompson, and jumped right back for an emphatic two-handed slam.