PRO TEAM: CB Murcia
VITALS: 6'11", 260 lbs.
YEAR DRAFTED: 2010 by Minnesota (Round 2, Pick 45)
RIGHTS HELD BY: Minnesota Timberwolves
Yesterday I talked about the dilemma that the Minnesota Timberwolves currently face holding the number one overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Will it be Karl Towns or Jahlil Okafor? I also made reference to two goliaths already under Minnesota's control. Yesterday saw Henk Norel get his day in the sun. Today it is Brazilian Paulão Prestes' turn. From the looks of him, you'd think this profile would be fat jokes and comparisons to $5 Wrestling icon Freight Train. It is quite the contrary though as Prestes has had a fairly productive career before and after having his name read at the NBA Draft.
Prestes began his professional career at just 17 in his native Brazil during the 2004-05 season with COC Ribeirao Preto. He was a sparsely used substitute early on, making only 11 appearances, and averaging just 3.5 points and rebounds per game in the lower Brazilian league. His stature though was enough to garner him a place on Brazil's U-18 National Team. That is where he would make his initial impression on talent evaluators both domestically and abroad.
He nearly doubled his averages his second season at Ribeirao Preto (7.7 PPG, 6.1 RPG) but was still a fringe player on the squad. However, it wasn't his league play (or lack thereof) that got people talking. It was his performance at the U-18 FIBA Americas Championships in 2006, where Brazil would place third.
There he would take on the best of what North and South America had to offer including Argentina, Canada, and of course the United States. Throughout the tournament, he outdueled players that would eventually become stars in both the collegiate ranks and the NBA. In pool play, he held his own against a slew of All-Americans such as Kyle Singler, Spencer Hawes, and Michael Beasley en route to a 21 point, 10 rebound showing versus the USA. Silver medalist Argentina could only "contain" Paulão to 25 points and 16 rebounds. The real show came against Canada in the third place game. Prestes absolutely abused future Laker Robert Sacre to the tune of 27 points and 26 rebounds (17 offensive) whilst blocking five shots in a Brazil victory. This display, along with a cameo on the Brazilian senior squad, allowed him to peddle his wares in Spain the next year with Unicaja.
He started making more noise in league play as Unicaja sent him out on loan in the lower tiers of Spanish basketball. He was a fixture over the next three years for Clinicas Rincon Axarquia. He ranked near the top of the league leaders in rebounding each year. He was fourth in the league in scoring in 2007-08 (17.1 PPG) and helped his team gain promotion to the second tier, their highest standing ever. With all that being said, Prestes still did his best work in an international setting.
Paulão made the 2007 U-19 World Championships his personal Carnival. In a tournament that featured Patty Mills (Australia), Nicolas Batum (France), DeAndre Jordan, and 2014-15 NBA MVP Stephen Curry, Prestes was the star. He put up monster doubles in every game against a world basketball power.
- 31 pts, 14 reb. vs Serbia
- 29 pts., 14 reb. vs France
- 26 pts., 14 reb. vs China
- 26 pts., 19 reb. vs Lithuania
- 26 pts., 13 reb. vs United States
He kept moving up the ranks for both Brazil and in Spanish league basketball. He secured his first taste of first team, first division Liga ACB ball in 2009-10 with CB Murcia. It was not the best of experiences of Prestes. He experienced extended losing for the first time as a professional, and Murcia were relegated after finishing a rock bottom 5-29. His career low was followed by a career high as following that season, he entered the NBA Draft.
Although the 2010 Draft wasn't the richest in talent, especially for big men, Prestes slid into the middle of the second round where the Minnesota Timberwolves were all to happy to take him. They also traded for Nemanja Bjelica, who was featured all the way back on DRR #17. Minnesota management had shown the year before with Norel that they were fine with stashing a guy overseas. Prestes returned to Spain with a new team, CB Granada.
Sadly for the big man, the story remained the same for him. He played well but ultimately his team was relegated. Twice. Granada went from the first division to the third in just two seasons. Well, they didn't even make it to the third division. The team dissolved following the second relegation leaving players like Prestes free agents with not much time to find competitive basketball. He spent the remainder of 2012 with Lithuanian outfit before returning to Gran Canaria in Spain.
Paulão has spent his most recent times back in his native Brazil with both Brasilia and now Mogi das Cruzes. Like many Brazilian soccer players have experienced before him, the return home has done wonders for his wallet...and damage to his waistline. He's also starting to develop a bit of a Sloth from the Goonies vibe about him. I think it is safe to say even if Minnesota shocks the basketball world by straying away from Towns or Okafor on the 25th, they won't be supplementing their roster height with Paulão any time soon.
Thanks for reading the twenty-third installment of Draft Rights Retained right here on Bleeding Your Colors! I hope you enjoyed it and look forward to bringing you more wacky stories of players who the NBA has long since forgotten, but not their draft rights. Stay locked for a new profile until the list is exhausted. For more of me, check out my Twitter @TREVORutley and the official Bleeding Your Colors Twitter @B3WHYC3. For less of me, hop in to the DeLorean, crank that bitch up to 88 MPH and go try to stop the inception of the internet.
Image Credits: Prestes Profile (solobasket.com), Prestes Sloth (lnb.com.br)