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Grizzlies’ Bruno Caboclo credits shift to stretch-four role for turning his career around

Bruno Caboclo

Bruno Caboclo’s career was changed forever before it even started when ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla deemed the surprise first-round pick “two years away from being two years away” on national television. As the Memphis Grizzlies forward sees it half a decade later, though, it’s not time that he needed to begin realizing his potential, but a position change.

The Grizzlies played Caboclo exclusively at power forward and small-ball center for the first time in his career this season. Despite the position switch that revitalized his career, the 23-year-old insists he’s still trying to get comfortable with life as a big man.

“I’m just trying to develop my game, do what the coaches tell me, and try to get better,” Caboclo said, per Basketball Insiders. “This is still new for me playing the position, and I think my size is a lot better playing as a four or five. I’m focused on that and trying to work and develop my game at that position.”

Caboclo was selected by the Toronto Raptors with the No. 20 overall pick of the 2014 Draft. Little known even among front-office executives at the time he was drafted, the Brazil native spent the majority of his first three years of his NBA career in the G-League, and in 2017 led Raptors 905 – along with coach Nick Nurse, Fred VanVleet, and Pascal Siakam – to a championship.

After being traded to the Sacramento Kings and being waived by the Houston Rockets, Caboclo was picked up off the scrap heap by Memphis in January of last season. He went on to average 8.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks in 23.5 minutes per game while shooting 36.9 percent from beyond the arc, all career-highs.

Caboclo’s contract with the Grizzlies runs through the 2019-20 season.