Player Profile: Caleb Swanigan
A big that can work his back to the basket while also developing a face-up game.
Above is Caleb Swanigan in high school compared to his last year at Purdue. Talk about a change in work ethic and body type. This type of hard work embodies how Swanigan plays the game. He’s still a force in the paint albeit losing these pounds, with a developing jumper that can force the other teams big to stretch out an guard him.
This skillset fits in well with the Blazers, who selected Swanigan with the 26th pick in the 2017 NBA draft. He can set some mean picks with his big frame, while also having the mobility to either roll to the rim, or pop for a jumper. His game is very reminiscent of another current Blazer player, Noah Vonleh. I believe this is why Neil Olshey made this pick, because Vonleh is about to be a RFA this coming summer, with absolutely no way to replace him without being able to deal those abhorrent contracts he signed last summer(That’s a piece for another day on this blog..).
Swanigan is just an absolute beast physically. At 6'9 and 250 pounds, he has the power to bang with bigger dudes inside. But yet, he is also svelte enough on the outside to move and switch on defense, something that is a necessity on Portland’s team with their horrific defensive back court of Dame-CJ. Being able to switch pick and rolls and not die on them is something the Portland defense desperately needs if Aminu isn’t on the floor, who’s one of the better PNR defenders in the league. Swanigan is now a low cost, possible rotation player right away for this Blazer team.
In this game against the Celtics summer league team, Swanigan shows an array of skills that he has. He exhibits great post position, being able to pass out of it if a double team comes. He can also hit a mid-range or deep jumper from 3 off of a pick and pop. But most impressive is his footwork and how he can work in the post and switch onto smaller guards. It would help the Blazers a lot if he can grow these skills, in addition to being able to handle the ball up the court which could prove to be deadly in transition off a rebound, pushing the ball to hit Dame/CJ/Moe on the run.
Caleb Swanigan isn’t a home run hit, but with these wide variety of skills I believe he can be a great fit on this Blazer team, that right now, may not “fit” together all that well.
Keep hitting those 3’s Caleb, and watch that playing time grow.