Future Watch: Caleb Swanigan Basketball Cards, Trailblazers – The Portland Trailblazers have struggled with their front-court since the departure of Lamarcus Aldridge in 2015. In the 2018 Playoffs, the Blazers were dominated in the paint by Anthony Davis and the Pelicans. With All-Star guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum running the show, Portland is a solid second-tier playoff team in a loaded Western Conference. But how far can they go without a solid front-court rotation? The team is hoping Caleb Swanigan, 26th overall pick in the 2017 draft, can develop into a solid producer for the 2018-19 season.
Swanigan’s path to the NBA was bumpy as he overcame unstable living conditions, an absent father and constant relocation as a youth. He battled obesity, weighing 360 pounds as an eighth grader. Thanks to his brother, Carl Jr., Caleb was given an opportunity to live and train with renowned AAU coach Roosevelt Barnes in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Barnes completely changed Caleb’s diet and training to help build him into a formidable college basketball prospect. At the end his senior season, Swanigan had dropped 100 pounds!
College recruiters took note of Swanigan’s senior season for Homestead High School in Fort Wayne. He was named Indiana’s “Mr. Basketball” and led the team to their first state title. That year, he averaged 22.6 points and 13.7 rebounds per game. He also maintained a 3.1 GPA. Arizona, Kentucky, Cal and Duke all offered scholarships to Swanigan, and he initially gave a verbal commitment to Michigan State. He would eventually decommit and stay closer to home at the University of Purdue.
In his freshman season, Swanigan started in every game for the Boilermakers. His best game came in a conference match-up with Wisconsin where he scored 27 points. The year, he played 25.7 minutes per game and averaged 10.2 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists. At the end of the season, he would enter his name for the 2016 draft, but he decided to return to college to improve his draft stock.
It was a smart move for Swanigan, as he improved significantly on his freshman season. As a sophomore, he started in every game and earned numerous accolades throughout the year. He led the NCAA in double-doubles (25) and broke several Purdue records including double-doubles in a season and rebounds per game. He also set an NCAA record with four 20 point, 20 rebound games. In 32.5 minutes per game, he averaged 18.5 points, 12.5 boards and 3.0 assists. After the season, he would declare for the 2017 draft and did not return to college.
On draft night, Portland selected Swanigan in the first round with the 26th overall pick. Standing 6’8” 260lb with a 7’3” wingspan, many scouts saw Swanigan as a solid modern NBA big man. His athleticism wasn’t outstanding, but his ability to body up big men in the post, grab rebounds and step outside for the occasional three-pointer made him a very intriguing prospect.
Swanigan’s rookie season with the Blazers was mostly spent in the G-League where he played with the Canton Charge. In 14 games with Canton, he averaged 14.2 points, 11.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.1 steals per game. With Portland, he played in 27 games, only averaging seven minutes per contest. His best game as a rookie came on April 5th against the Rockets. He played 18 minutes and scored 10 points with four rebounds.
The 2018 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas gave Swanigan an opportunity to build on his NBA development. In seven games, he played 26.3 minutes and averaged 8.4 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists. In a Summer League playoff game against Memphis, Swanigan scored 21 points with 16 boards to help his team advance to the Summer League final.
Heading into the 2018-19 season, Swanigan deserves a solid look in Portland’s rotation. A backup big man capable of using his strength in the paint is a valuable asset in today’s game. Swanigan has also shown to be a capable passer out of the post. With a strong rotation of guards on the roster, Swanigan can make an impact finding open shooters from the post.
He may have been looked over by fans in Portland as a rookie, but Swanigan has a chance to take a big step forward this season. His story is inspiring. As an adolescent, he was able to make drastic changes to his life that led to him becoming a first round NBA draft pick. Not to mention, he maintained GPA’s over 3.0 through high school and into college. In fact, he maintained a cumulative college GPA of 3.34. Fans in Portland will surely root for this type of story. Hopefully he gets more attention on the national level.
Caleb Swanigan has some great autographed rookie cards in the market. They can be found in 2017 Panini Contenders Collegiate Draft Picks Basketball. As a top draft pick, collectors can be assured to find NBA licensed rookie cards of Swanigan in the complete portfolio of 2017-18 Panini NBA basketball card products during the 2017-18 NBA season.
Future Watch: Caleb Swanigan Basketball Cards, Trailblazers – Stats
Future Watch: Caleb Swanigan Basketball Cards, Trailblazers – Other Resources
- NBA.com Player Profile – Caleb Swanigan
- Caleb Swanigan – Secondary Market Pricing
- Future Watch: 2017 NBA Draft Recap, Most NBA-Ready Players
- Future Watch: 2017 NBA Summer League Top Rookie Players
Future Watch: Caleb Swanigan Basketball Cards, Trailblazers – Image Gallery
Future Watch: Caleb Swanigan Basketball Cards, Trailblazers
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