Leading up to the NBA Draft we will be analyzing scouting reports for various players who have entered their name in this year’s NBA Draft. The focus of these articles will be on prospects who we find most intriguing and feel readers need to become more familiar with. Please let us know if you want any players specifically @edupridepress. All stats and videos are via KenPom, ESPN, DraftExpress, and YouTube.
Caleb Swanigan – Purdue
Weight: 246 lbs
Age: 20 years and 2 months
Projected: 40 (DraftExpress) 40 (CPP Big Board) 43 (CPP Mock Draft)
Background: If you’ve paid any attention to college basketball this year, you’ve seen how dominant Caleb Swanigan was for Purdue. The 6’9″ 247-pound manchild averaged 18.5 points and 12.5 rebounds this year while leading the Boilermakers to a Big Ten championship and a four seed in the NCAA Tournament which resulted in a Sweet 16 loss to Kansas. After his freshman season, Swanigan entered his name in the NBA Draft but ultimately decided to return to West Lafayette after failing multiple conditioning requirements. While Swanigan has yet to announce if he will keep his name in the draft, there is great speculation he will forgo his last two seasons at Purdue.
Strengths: Looking at Swanigan, the first thing that stands out is how massive he is. At 6’9″ and almost 250 pounds, Swanigan moves very well for how big he is which makes him an interesting prospect. Watching Swanigan for Purdue this season, it was easy to point out how big of a task he is to handle down low. What NBA scouts like the most about him are how big of a force he is down on the low block. You see, with someone of Swanigan’s size, it’s easy to fall into the trap of just relying on plowing guys over and finishing at the rim. Swanigan’s case is rare because he has such great control of his body, and doesn’t have to only overpower players to get a bucket. His strength along with his arsenal of post moves leaves his opponents guessing and has been why he’s been so effective inside the paint.
Swanigan does a great job of backing his defender down, reading the double team as it’s coming, getting his defender up in the air to draw contact and head to the free throw line for an easy two points.
Another area where Swanigan is improving is his perimeter game. Swanigan shot 45% in 2016-17 which is a solid improvement from his 29% mark in 2015-16. Along with the impressive perimeter game for someone of his stature, he was often times the first big down the floor on the fast break. Swanigan excelled at running the floor which will be huge for him as there aren’t as many big men nowadays in the pros who are very slow and chugging along behind the play.
Weaknesses: While Swanigan has improved his overall conditioning since last year’s combine, it is still the category he needs to work at the most. The college basketball season is 30-40 games a year with limited traveling due to the conferences being in a certain region in the country for the most part. With that being said the NBA season is a marathon and if Swanigan wants to be an impact player for his team he’s going to have to improve his durability drastically.
Comparison: Zach Randolph
There is no perfect comparison for Biggie. Based on shape, height, and play style, Swanigan is most like NBA veteran F Zach Randolph. Both Swanigan and Randolph are not one-dimensional big men. Each has the ability to dominate inside whether that be with post moves or rebounding; while they can also expand their range and hit from 17′ feet and beyond. As of now, I think Swanigan has great potential to become a top forward like Randolph. I think he could even surpass Randolph if he builds on his athleticism and physical shape.
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Featured image via The Ringer