Photo via SoaringDownSouth.com
The Cleveland Cavaliers will likely have the ninth pick in this upcoming draft. In the next few weeks here at Right Down Euclid, we will be profiling players the Cavaliers might draft in the first round on June 26th. Today, we profile Swiss forward Clint Capela. Click here for more draft profiles.
Tale of the Tape
Name: Clint Capela
International Team: Chalon (France)
Age: 19 (Turns 20 on May 18th)
Weight: 211 lbs.
2013-2014 Per Game Stats (Eurocup and French League): 10.0 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.1 APG, 0.6 SPG, 1.6 BPG, 66.2 percent shooting, 55.4 free throw shooting
Clint Capela is one of a group of intriguing international prospects available in this year’s draft. A tangle of limbs with a ton of desirable physical attributes, teams will likely be very interested in Capela’s raw potential as a defensive anchor and off-ball finisher. However, he’s got a long way to go before that comes to fruition.
Capela basically has everything you’d want in a young, athletic post prospect. Perhaps his biggest draw is his gargantuan wingspan, which at almost 7’5” makes him a perfect candidate to dominate defensively in the NBA. Capela supplements this length with outstanding lateral quickness and leaping ability as well, which makes him perhaps the best rim protecting prospect in the draft. Capela can jump out of the gym and is both agile and great at getting up and down the floor, and that makes him very enticing. His one physical drawback is his weight, which was the main reason he will likely play a lot of power forward early in his career. Specifically, this significantly affects his rebounding ability, as he often gets pushed around by smaller and stronger players in the interior because his lower body strength is poor. However, this is something we’ve seen guys like Roy Hibbert and Larry Sanders overcome in the past, so it’s not the biggest cause for concern. Capela is still a wonderful physical specimen.
Capela’s a fairly limited offensive prospect, but there is some potential to work with here. Capela’s main strength is that he’s got excellent touch in the paint, and is an expert finisher. The fact that he shot 66 percent from the field should not surprise anyone, then, because this is a majority of his offense. He’s at his best when he can fill space, grab offensive rebounds, and finish on the break. Thanks to his length and quickness, Capela should be a good pick-and-roll finisher, but he’s fairly raw at that right now. As it stands, though, those are really the only areas he will likely excel in. His post offense is incredibly raw, as he struggles to get good positioning thanks to his lack of strength, and doesn’t have a strong repertoire of moves. He also really doesn’t have a strong jumper, and that’s mostly due to a poor shooting motion, as evidenced by his 55 percent shooting from the line. This might be the area he needs to improve in the most if he’s going to be effective anywhere outside of the restricted area.
Offense isn’t where Capela is going to make an impact in the NBA. On the defensive end, he has the potential to be one of the best in the league. With his excellent combination of leaping ability, length, and lateral quickness, Capela’s probably the best rim protecting prospect in the draft, even better than Noah Vonleh. Capela can rotate over from the weak side like Serge Ibaka, and his timing and recovery ability is incredible. Even if he gets beat off the dribble, he still has a great chance of beating the guy to the rim and blocking the shot with an outstretched arm. He’s also a great PNR defender, as he has the quickness to at least stay with quick guards, and he’s used to the trapping system Chalon used that’s similar to how many teams defend the pick and roll in the NBA. Capela is raw in his understanding of positioning, but that will come with teaching. In the meantime, he can still be an effective defensive player, thanks to raw athletic ability.
The transition for Capela from France to the NBA is going to take a few years, because in addition to his developing physical profile, Capela’s basketball IQ needs some development as well. As with many athletic European bigs, Capela has relied on his physical capabilities to succeed, and has developed a few bad habits that he’ll need to break. For one, Capela can lose track of his defensive assignment, and he’s not always putting maximal effort in on that end. Offensively, his shot selection isn’t the greatest when he does attempt to stretch his range, and he can be lazy at times on the glass. All of this is correctable, of course, but it’s something to take into account for a team that doesn’t want to develop before seeing major returns on their investment.
Physically, Capela somewhat reminds me of Larry Sanders, as he’s working with a similar frame and athletic attributes. However, his game seems more akin to young DeAndre Jordan. Capela is a dunking machine, and his rim protection skills are a little more subtle than Sanders’s caps lock-inspiring shot blocking. I think the development curve offensively that Jordan has taken, with a remarkably consistent finishing ability and slowly developing midrange shot, is going to be closer to what we see from Capela.
How Does He Fit on the Cavaliers?
Defensively, he’s about exactly what the Cavaliers want from a center prospect. He could anchor the defense from the inside, and his pairing with Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson would work well, because those two could handle any post weapon their opponents have. However, offensively, I’m a little scared of adding Capela. His inexperience offensively will mean that he should probably be paired with a post who can stretch the floor. Pairing him with Thompson or Anthony Bennett at this point would clutter the spacing the Cavs’ offense. Now, if Zeller or Bennett can develop a more consistent outside shot, or if Spencer Hawes returns, this is less of an issue. But after watching the Cavs’ frontcourt outside of Hawes this season, I can’t see what Capela brings defensively making up for the problems he might cause on the offensive end.