The Toronto Raptors have officially signed Lucas Nogueira, according to NBA.com.
Nogueira, 7-foot, 220 pounds, was selected 16th overall by the Boston Celtics in the 2013 NBA Draft. His draft rights were traded on draft night to Dallas and then to Atlanta. Toronto acquired his draft rights June 30 from the Hawks. He competed for the Raptors’ entry in the 2014 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas where he contributed 5.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 20.3 minutes in five contests.
Nogueira has played since 2009 with Asefa Estudiantes in Spain’s Liga ACB. The native of Sao Goncalo, Brazil averaged 6.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 16.0 minutes in 18 games during the 2013-14 season. He scored in double figures on 10 occasions and had nine games with two or more blocks. At the 2011 U19 World Championships, he averaged 9.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.9 blocks in eight outings.
Terms of the deal have not been officially disclosed, but Nogueira will receive a rookie-scale contract similar to what the 16th pick received in this year’s draft because he signed his contract within three years of being drafted. The Raptors acquired the Brazilian center earlier this offseason in a trade for John Salmons as the Hawks were trying to clear cap space.
The 22-year-old’s biggest strengths are on the defensive end, where his skills are bolstered by his 7’6” wingspan and mobility. Nogueira adds much-needed length to a Raptors’ roster that fielded 6’5 Chuck Hayes as its back-up center last season. Bebe didn’t blow people away this summer in Las Vegas, but he showed flashes of potential, like this play where he chased down Luke Hancock for a nice block. In addition to blocking shots, Nogueira is mobile enough to defend the pick and roll.
The Hawks were willing to move Nogueira in part due to concerns over tendonitis in his knee. It’s likely that Nogueira only plays about 10 minutes or so per game in Casey’s rotation this season, perhaps less while he is getting his feet wet. His potential is evident, but he’s raw and still needs to add a lot of strength. Plus, his offensive game is not advanced enough yet. But he’s a willing passer who shot at a 70.3 % clip on 2pFG in Spain last season, so there is some potential there.
While he’s still a project, the Raptors have at least added someone with elite length and epic hair, as well as a friend to fellow Brazilian and first round pick Bruno Caboclo.