Title: Tidjan Keita Is an Intriguing Project Who’s More Raw Than Bruno Caboclo
Date: July 21, 2017
Original Source: Vice
Synopsis: For my latest at Vice, I wrote about Tidjan Keita, the mysterious prospect out of a Quebec prep school whom the Raptors brought in for Summer League.
Three years and change after being selected with the No. 20 overall pick in the draft, Bruno Caboclo remains as much of a “what if” as he did on draft night. What if that length portends real defensive potential? What if a nice looking shooting stroke starts to fall regularly? What if the development plan for a hyper-raw teenager, one with little professional basketball experience, was better served under the eye of an NBA team rather than a college program or international outfit?
Even as Caboclo enters his fourth season, the “what ifs” remain. What if the Raptors had done things differently? What if they had been able to develop him in the G-League initially, without burning time off of his rookie-scale deal because they didn’t have their own affiliate yet? And, of course, what if it all falls into place as Caboclo inches closer to contributing, his defense nearly NBA-ready and his body looking more the part of a power forward every day?
That there are still questions can be frustrating for the impatient, to be sure. It’s easy to second-guess things as Caboclo approaches his 22nd birthday, though there’s still plenty of time for things to click (like his defense last season suggests they might). Even the Raptors seem to wonder if the path taken was the right one.
“I want to almost blame myself for bringing him too soon to our team,” president Masai Ujiri said Tuesday. “But we wanted to see his development, and it’s the price we paid. It’s the price I paid. I said I wanted to see his development. It’s almost like he’s gone through college on our team.”
Caboclo did not participate in Las Vegas Summer League this year. Still, the Raptors’ roster contained a pair of interesting Caboclo-adjacent what ifs: What if there were a player even more raw than Caboclo at draft time, and what if the Raptors could do things differently with him this time around?
Enter Tidjan Keita, the almost entirely unknown 20-year-old who saw eight minutes of action with the Vegas Raptors.