Thoughts on Caio Pacheco

May 29th, 2020

By Alan Lu

As there has been plenty of time between now and the unspecified date of the 2020 NBA Draft, I have decided to take the opportunity to watch Bahia Basket’s 6-3 point guard, Caio Pacheco from Argetina play in a league game against Gimanasia y Esgrima in a Novemeber 24th, 2019 basketball game, as I was able to see this with thanks to YouTube via Gustavo Monella.  Pacheco declared to enter the draft a while ago, but has flown under the radar as a draft prospect.  He had a very good season in Argentina’s top league, Liga Nacional de Básquet, as he averaged 19 points and 6 assists per game, and was among league leaders in both categories.  I set out to watch him play to assess his strengths and weaknesses, and to see how well he would fare in the NBA.

Bahia Basket’s 6-3 point guard, Caio Pacheco recently declared to enter the 2020 draft, and he played very well in Liga Nacional de Básquet this season.
Emmanuel Briane/La Nueva)

Caio Pacheco is an agile, skilled playmaker that can effectively run the point with the ball in his hands.  He is an unselfish player that has good court vision, as he excels at finding open teammates on the move, and he can throw timely passes to set up scores for them.  He passes the ball well off the dribble, and he can quickly push the ball on the break to set up scores for his teammates in transition.  However, sometimes he can tend to be prone to rushing, which can lead him to over-dribbling and to throw hasting passes that end up getting intercepted.  On another play, he struggled to dribble out of a trap, and he threw a loopy, up for grabs pass that his teammate dropped into the backcourt, which led to an over and back violation for his team.

He also showed a good ability to score on quick, strong drives to the hoop.  Pacheco has a good first step as he can finish plays using either hand, and he also accelerates well which can allow him to consistently get all the way to the basket.  He also can score on tough, acrobatic layups off the dribble, and he also will draw plenty of fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line often.  Sometimes though, he may try to force the issue too much, as he may wind up missing shots in traffic if he doesn’t get foul calls.

Also, Pacheco did an adequate job of knocking down long-range jumpers to provide floor spacing for his team.  Pacheco can make threes off the catch or dribble, and he can knock down outside shots when he has ample time and space to get his shot off.  However, he can tend to be too inconsistent in making jump shots from out there, and he struggled more when hoisting up pull-up threes from beyond the arc. He also was able to get his hands on his fair share of boards to help his team get some defensive rebounds, as he would tend to push the ball quickly up the floor afterwards.

However, he will need to improve his defense.  For the positives, he is an active help defender, and early on, he was able to rotate to the post to quickly poke a ball away to get a steal.  He also has good feet to stay in front of his man, and he actively contested a three to force a miss another time.  He would tend to gamble for steals, but the times when he would miss would lead to scrambling situations, which would lead his team to allow opponents to score on open three-point shots.  He also had trouble fighting through screens, as he would be late to get back to his man.  He also had trouble guarding taller players, as his lack of size makes it difficult for him to defend taller players in the post.

In general, Caio Pacheco is a skilled point guard that had a very productive season in Argentina’s top professional basketball league this year.  On the downside, he generally struggled to make long-range shots this season, and he will need to improve his jump shot and on-ball defense.  He is an above average athlete that excels at scoring on quick drives and distributing the basketball to rack up assists, but he can play too fast and out of control at times.  Right now, his lack of draft buzz may make it difficult for him to get drafted this year, but he has the talent to make a team’s roster in the NBA, as he could end up being an effective role player similar to former veteran guard, Carlos Arroyo in the association.

Other Notes:

Giminasia y Esgrima’s 6-9, 2000-born Cuban center, Pedro Bombino didn’t play very much, but he is a good athlete that runs the floor, and he was able to score on a powerful two-handed dunk late in the game.  He will need more playing time in the future, but regardless, he may be an intriguing long-term prospect that has the talent to be a high-level player in Argentina’s top league, and he could be a prospect to keep tabs on in the future.

Bahia Basket’s 6-7, 2000-born swingman, Fausto Ruesga put forth an uneven performance in his team’s loss to Gimnasia y Esgrima. Ruesga would usually score on hustle plays.  He can score off of cuts, put backs, and in transition, but sometimes he would struggle to score in traffic when he wouldn’t draw foul calls.  He also was able to make a quick corner three, but missed two other three-point shots from beyond the arc.

However, sometimes he would be a bit turnover prone on offense.  Ruesga is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man.  However, he threw one pass that ended up getting intercepted, and he also over-dribbled into traffic, as he had a ball that got poked away another time. 

Ruesga did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He would aggressively leap up to get offensive rebounds, and he also would chase down balls to get defensive rebounds, as he was able to push the ball up the court on one possession.

Defensively, he looked to be about average.  He was able to poke a ball to a teammate to help his team get a steal, and he would look to fight through screens to stay with his man.  However, he would sometimes be late on his close outs, which would lead him to foul shooters and allow scores.  He also may be prone to misplaying the ball, as he also would sometimes struggle to defend opponents in one-on-one situations.

Overall, Ruesga is a skilled offensive player that can score the basketball in a variety of ways, but his lack of elite physical tools may limit his upside as a prospect for higher levels.  He will need to show that he can dominate his current league first before moving on to higher levels of international basketball.  He may project to go undrafted, but if he ends up making his way to the NBA, he could perhaps project to be a shooting specialist in the league.

Bahia Basket’s 6-8, 1998-born forward, Rafael Paulichi made some solid defensive plays early on, and he also excelled at scoring on strong drives to the hoop when he would look to score the basketball.  He also did a decent job of getting rebounds for his team when he was on the floor.

Paulichi is an active help defender that was able to intercept a pass to get a steal, and he also ran back on defense to poke a ball away out of bounds early on.  He is a high-motor player that would look to stay in front of his man, and he also actively contested a three to force a miss.  On the downside, he can be undisciplined defensively, as he may be prone to over-helping in the paint, which can lead him to be late to get back to his man, and he also occasionally struggled to defend his man off the dribble.

Overall, Paulichi may be a long shot to be drafted, and he doesn’t possess elite physical tools nor does he look to take jumpers often outside of the paint area, but his strong defensive mindset and ability to score off the dribble could allow him to thrive in Argentina’s top league, Liga Nacional de Básquet, and Paulichi is a defensive minded player that could end up carving out a long career in professional basketball.

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