NBA Draft Profile: Purdue power forward Caleb Swanigan

Olivia Healy
June 13, 2017 - 12:04 pm
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As part of our coverage of the 2017 NBA Draft, which will be held June 22 at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, WEEI.com continues to look at draft possibilities for the C's.

The Celtics have amassed four picks: No. 1, No. 37, No. 53, and No. 56.

Position: PF/Center

Hometown: Fort Wayne, IN

College: Purdue

Age: 20

Height: 6-foot-9

Weight: 250 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-3

Key 2016-17 stats: 18.5 points, 12.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and a 53.7 field goal percentage

Everything about Caleb Swanigan’s game improved from his freshman season to sophomore season. He improved from 10.2 to 18.5 points per contest and 8.3 to 12.5 rebounds per game. His field goal percentage improved by six percent and seven percent from the charity stripe. He tested NBA waters last year before returning to Purdue for his sophomore season.

"A year ago we had this conversation and you mentioned him and I said, 'No chance,'" one NBA scout said to USA Today. "Now, he's a totally different player."

He was named to multiple watch lists during the 2016-17 season, was a first-team Associated Press All-America selection and was the Big Ten Player of the Year. Swanigan also recorded 28 double-doubles, which was a Big Ten record and the 13th-most by any play in the history of the NCAA. He was a six-time Big Ten Player of the Week. Swanigan works hard for position down low, and while he isn’t the most athletic player, he uses his body to put himself in scoring position. His range does not typically extend to three-point range, however, as he averaged just 2.4 attempts per game. Defensively, he has a quiet presence and often gets caught on the top side. And despite the 7-foot 3-inch wingspan, he averaged just .8 blocks per night. 

Still, while he is a player that showed improvement, there's no doubt that Swanigan still has some way to go. His length for the most part makes up for the fact that he isn’t extremely athletic. However, his go-to move when pushed up the lane is a two or three-dribble step back off one leg which falls short for the most part. Defenders are able to make him to take off-balanced and forced shots at times. In the Big 10, he saw countless traps and struggled passing or maneuvering out of them. 

The problem for Swanigan is that the top players in the 2017 NBA Draft are overwhelmingly small forwards and power forwards. Therefore, he is a player that will likely be somewhere around the second round. The Celtics have worked out small and power forwards like Perry Ellis, Pascal Siakam and Jarrod Uthoff, according to a report from CSNNE.com.

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