You’ve read all the scouting reports on Caleb Swanigan, the 6’9” Power Forward/Center out of Purdue University who was taken by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 26th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
You already know the limitations of his athleticism and his defense. You’ve already heard/read about how Swanigan turns the ball over too much. On the flip side, you also know how well he rebounds and passes, what a great shooter he is for a player his size, and that he takes care of business at the free-throw line too.
So how does he fit in with the Trail Blazers? Quite well, because he fills needs that make it likely he’ll see significant minutes as early as his rookie year.
Portland made a trade to add front court help in Gonzaga big man and former McDonald’s All-American Zach Collins, but it’s clear that they still need upgrading because that’s where the team was weakest. Swanigan should fit in with both Collins and Jusuf Nurkic very well because he brings the potential to be both a small ball center and a second unit power forward.
Swanigan averaged 18.5 points and 12.5 rebounds a game his sophomore year, and took home the B1G Player of the Year award. He was a finalist for all the national player of the year awards, yet he slid all the way to #26. Frank Mason, who took home all the major national player of the year awards fell to #31.
Swanigan is the only major-college player (and one of two players total) to record 600 points, 400 rebounds and 100 assists in a season. He joins Tim Duncan as the only players in the last 25 years to average at least 18.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in a season.
The “WHO?! Is that an ACTUAL guy?!” phase of the NBA Draft used to not begin until the late 40s/early 50s Now it actually starts in the early 30s. It’s really a shame how these days, how well you actually play college basketball has less and less to do with your NBA Draft stock value. Seems counter-intuitive but that’s where we seem to be heading now.
We’ll see if Biggie Swanigan can channel the disrespect he got from a lot of NBA GMs and scouts through this process into the fuel he needs to accelerate his professional career.
That’s why you got to love this Tweet from Chris Forman, the Purdue basketball Sports Information Director:
Biggie takes these slights and turns them into motivation.
Take it for what its worth.
— Chris Forman (@ChrisForman12) June 23, 2017
“We are thrilled that Biggie has achieved his lifelong dream of being selected in the NBA Draft. It’s been an incredibly tough road for him to get to this point and no one deserves it more than he does,” reads a statement attributed to Purdue Coach Matt Painter.
“His work ethic, desire to be great and willingness to be a great teammate will make him very successful at the next level. He has developed into an outstanding player and his best basketball is yet to come.”
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes to WGN CLTV and KOZN.Follow paulmbanks