The Portland Trail Blazers select former Purdue Boilermakers forward Caleb Swanigan with the No. 26 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
The Portland Trail Blazers initially had three first-round picks in the 2017 NBA Draft. They traded picks No. 15 and No. 20 to the Sacramento Kings so that they could move up to draft former Gonzaga Bulldogs center Zach Collins. Portland held steady at No. 26 and ended up selecting former Purdue Boilermakers forward Caleb Swanigan with that pick.
Swanigan was the most recognizable player on Matt Painter’s 2016-17 Boilermakers team. Purdue went to the Sweet 16 in the 2017 NCAA Tournament before falling to Bill Self’s Kansas Jayhawks.
In two years with Purdue, Swanigan averaged 14.4 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 29.2 minutes per game. Swanigan would go on to be the Big Ten Player of the Year at Purdue during his sophomore season in West Lafayette. He would average 18.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists before leaving school two years early.
While Swanigan was a great scorer for the Boilermakers, shooting 52.7 percent from the field and 44.7 percent on 3-pointers as a sophomore, issues with weight and being a tweener at forward knocked him down some teams draft boards. Though Swanigan has the length to be a solid forward in the NBA at 6-foot-9, he weighed 260 pounds in just his second collegiate season.
He might be able to shoot well enough and bang hard enough down low on the glass to have staying power in the NBA, but keeping the pounds off will be crucial to his overall success in the NBA for the Trail Blazers.
Portland has made it abundantly clear that it wants to get more versatile on the frontcourt. Adding Collins helps the Trail Blazers do that in the long-term. It wouldn’t be shocking to see it be Swanigan who ends up having a more impactful rookie year in the Pacific Northwest.
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