Caleb Swanigan profile
Drafted #26 in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Trailblazers
RCSI: 18 (2015)
Height: 6'9" (206 cm)
Weight: 246 lbs (112 kg)
Position: PF/C
High School: Homestead High School (Indiana)
Hometown: Fort Wayne, IN
AAU: Indy Heat
College: Purdue
Current Team: Trailblazers
Win - Loss: 21 - 61
Caleb Swanigan 2017 NBA Draft Scouting Video - Strengths


Caleb Swanigan NBA Draft Scouting Report and Video Analysis

Julian Applebome
Julian Applebome
Jun 09, 2017, 10:38 am
Scouting Report and Video Analysis by Julian Applebome
One of the more intriguing storylines of the 2017 College Basketball season was the rise to prominence of Purdue big man Caleb Swanigan.  Having battled a variety of personal problems at a young age including weight issues, homelessness, and the death of his father, Swanigan was able to transform his body and career during his two seasons of college basketball. 
A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Swanigan wavered between commitments to Cal and Michigan State before electing to stay home and play under Head Coach Matt Painter at Purdue.  Swanigan showed promise during his freshman year, but after testing the draft waters and opting to return to school for his Sophomore year, Swanigan proved to be one of the most dominant players in college basketball, earning First Team All-American honors, while leading Purdue to their first Big Ten Conference title in seven years. 
Standing 6'8.5 and weighing 246 pounds, Swanigan was one of the more physically imposing players in the NCAA this season. That wasn't always the case earlier in his career.  Having weighed over 350 pounds as an eighth grader, Swanigan has worked diligently with dieting and conditioning to turn his size and strength into an asset. He most likely projects as a small-ball center at the NBA level given his athletic limitations, and although he is somewhat undersized at that position, he has the length (7'3 wingspan) and strength to compensate for some of his deficiencies.  He is fairly underwhelming from an athletic perspective, and while he has shown improvement with his mobility and quickness, his lack of explosiveness affects his finishing and shot-blocking abilities, two crucial components of a modern-day NBA big man.  His 2016 max vertical jump of just 29 ranked third worst of any prospect at the 2016 NBA Draft Combine.  His pure strength and length helped him around the rim at the college level, but his athleticism will be tested on both ends of the floor at the NBA level. 

Offensively, Swanigan was one of the biggest mismatches in the NCAA.  He was one of only three players in a major conference to shoot above 54% on 2-point field goal attempts and 44% on 3 point attempts.  Having primarily relied on his size to score as a freshman, Swanigan showed some improvement creating his own offense out of the low post.  While he is most effective using his strength to seal deep post position, he showed improved touch scoring with his back to the basket using either hand to finish with short jump hooks or creating separation with mid-range fade away jumpers. 
As effective as Swanigan was converting interior scoring opportunities, the same cannot be said for his ability to create offense from the perimeter.  His first step is on the slow side and he is still limited as a ball handler, so creating off the bounce is still very much a work in progress for him.  His turnover rate of 4.1 per 40 minutes is the highest of any player in the 2017 DX Mock Draft, an unusually high number for a player who is not a point guard and spends most his time off the ball. He is easily sped up and has a difficult time making decisions or controlling the ball versus pressure defense.  Swanigan will not be asked to handle much playmaking in the NBA, but his ability to make smart decisions with the ball and play out of closeout situations is something that he will need to improve on. 

Swanigan did show a much-improved feel for the game as a sophomore, particularly as a passer.  His 3.7 assists per 40-minutes average was the highest number of any big man in the 2017 DX Mock Draft.  He shows great vision using his size to pass from the high post or with his back to the basket.  He won't see as many double teams at the NBA level, but his ability to pass out of short rolls or within the flow of the offense will be valuable skills for him early on in his career as his playmaking continues to develop. 
The most significant improvement in Swanigan's game from his freshman to his sophomore year was the addition of a consistent perimeter shot.  Having shot just 29% from deep as a freshman, Swanigan took a big step forward this past season, knocking down 45% of his 3 point attempts on a solid 2.4 attempts per game.  His ability to stretch the defense is a huge skill for any big man in the NBA these days, particularly for someone who can score inside as well.  Swanigan has a compact, but flat stroke which he looked comfortable using as a floor spacer off the ball, out of pick and pop situations, or as a trailer in transition.  The huge jump for Swanigan as a perimeter threat came as a bit of a surprise, but his high free throw percentage (78.1%), touch around the rim, and flashes from NBA range lead you to believe that he has the potential to be a stretch big at the NBA level. 
As dynamic as Swanigan's development was on the offensive side of the ball, his ability to play high level NBA defense is still very much in question.  His size and athletic ability limit his potential on the defensive end of the floor.  While he has length and strength to make up for some of his weaknesses, he really lacks the height or bounce to be a presence as an interior defender, and he doesn't quite have the quickness or mobility to defend on the perimeter.  His average of 1.0 blocks per 40 minutes is the lowest number for any Center in the 2017 DX Mock Draft.  The tasks of containing pick and roll on the perimeter or chasing around stretch bigs will likely be difficult adjustments for Swanigan to handle, forcing a team to pair him with a more mobile big man that can help cover for his deficiencies. 
The most NBA-ready skill that Swanigan brings to the table is as a rebounder on both ends of the floor.  He had four games of at least 20 rebounds, his average of 12.5 rebounds per game was the second highest in the NCAA, and his defensive rebounding percentage of 32.7 was the third highest mark in the NCAA.    On both ends of the floor, Swanigan shows impressive instincts finding the ball off the glass, and makes a consistent effort to use his size to carve out space with physical box outs.  While at times his lack of athletic ability shows, he can be dominant using his strength to establish position as a rebounder.  His willingness to focus his energy as a rebounder could be a way for him to find minutes early on in his career. 
Caleb Swanigan certainly has some limitations from a physical and athletic perspective, but given the strides he has made, and the commitment he has shown to improving his body and skill level, it would not be surprising to see him continue to develop at the professional level.  He is not going to be the modern-day rim protector and pick and roll threat that a lot of teams are seeking at the 5, but he will bring a different skill set to a team as a hardworking, physical presence, with a potentially consistent inside and out offensive game.  Having just turned 20 in April, he is fairly young for a sophomore and has the potential to develop into a unique NBA player. 

Caleb Swanigan Sophomore Year Jump

Julian Applebome
Julian Applebome
Jan 23, 2017, 12:30 pm
Julian Applebome breaks down the significant improvement Caleb Swanigan has shown in various facets, as well as the tremendous production he is posting for Purdue in the Big Ten.

With Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, First Team All-Conference member and go-to guy A.J. Hammons off to the NBA, Purdue has needed Caleb Swanigan to take a big jump in his sophomore year, something he's doing in a major way thus far.

Swanigan had a rude awakening following his freshman season when his attempt to enter the 2016 NBA Draft fell flat after a very poor showing at the NBA Combine and in private workouts. This forced him to make major improvements to his body, work ethic, intensity level and polish up his skill-set, all of which he's done in a major way as a sophomore.

Swanigan's production is up across the boards, as he's posting incredible per-40 minute averages of 23 points, 15.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 4.2 turnovers, while shooting 58% from 2-point range and 47% for 3.

Still only 19 years old, making him the same age or younger than freshman such as T.J. Leaf, Wenyen Gabriel and Josh Jackson, Swanigan has gotten himself into better shape this season, which has allowed him to play consistently harder for longer stretches.

Still not the quickest or most explosive athlete, Swanigan's improved conditioning has helped him run the floor better, rebound out of his area, and have sustained success deeper into games despite the added defensive attention he's drawing.

He's been absolutely deadly with his back to the basket, where he's reading the floor and navigating double teams better, as well as finishing the looks created for him by teammates around the basket, where he's converting a stellar 73% of his half-court attempts according to Synergy Sports Tech.

Perhaps the most notable improvement Swanigan has made is from the perimeter, though, as he's currently shooting 18/38 (47%) from beyond the arc through 20 games, up from 29% last year, while raising his free throw percentage from 71 to 78%.

Swanigan's 7'3 1/2 wingspan may help compensate for his lack of quickness and explosiveness to a certain degree and allow him to operate more as a small-ball center at the NBA level, something he'll likely have to do considering his struggles covering ground in open space. He's only posted 4 steals and 16 in 630 minutes thus far this season, something that will likely stand out as a major red flag considering the lack of historical success of previous players who posted such rates. Swanigan's defensive potential has to be considered the biggest question mark surrounding his NBA potential at the moment.

The fact that he's such a tremendous rebounder may help mitigate some of those concerns, though.

Julian Applebome is a video analyst for DraftExpress. Follow him on twitter and check out the DraftExpress Video section. He will be breaking down the NBA draft in digital format all year long for us.

Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Big Ten, Part Five: Prospects 8-11

Jeremy Bauman
Jeremy Bauman
Josh Riddell
Josh Riddell
Oct 14, 2016, 01:30 pm
Matt Williams

Caleb Swanigan's college recruitment was not without drama, as the 18th ranked RSCI prospect initially committed to play for the Michigan State Spartans, before abruptly decommitting and electing to stay in his home state of Indiana to compete for the Purdue Boilermakers. Coach Matt Painter already had a pair of 7-footers - since-graduated A.J. Hammons and the efficient scoring, 7-2 rising junior, Isaac Haas - and was in need of a power forward to plug into an otherwise well-rounded lineup.

A starter from day one, the Fort Wayne, Indiana native averaged nearly a double-double, scoring 10.2 PPG and grabbing 8.3 RPG (second overall in the Big Ten), but showed plenty of room for improvement during his first season in Lafayette. Swanigan impressed with his hustle, nose for the ball and versatility on offense, but was too inefficient as a scorer, turned the ball over often and proved to be inept at the defensive end at times.

The big man declared for the 2016 NBA Draft and participated in the Combine, but realized his best option was to return to school for at least another season after struggling badly in Chicago, as he was considered a fringe second round draft pick at best. The rising sophomore will have ample opportunity to prove himself as a key member of a legit Top-25 team.

Standing 6-9 in shoes and 247 pounds with a 7-4 wingspan and 9-1 standing reach, Swanigan's physical profile is intriguing and concerning at once when projecting him to the NBA. He's got a strong lower body and excellent wingspan and reach, which he uses to make an impact as a defensive rebounder and post threat. However, the 19-year old has a very wide frame, is flat-footed and lacks lateral quickness, muscle definition and explosion as a finisher and rim protector.

The majority of Swanigan's offensive opportunities were in the low post, where he proved to be adept at carving space out with his physical tools. He embraces physicality, uses his strength to make first contact with the defender, and makes himself available to catch passes via his strong lower body and length. He's not the fastest big man around, but he does run hard and is willing to work for duck-ins. Intelligently, he seeks to establish position a few feet above the block, where he operates with a few dribbles and body-bumps to create space for hook shots or turn-around jumpers, which are very much a work in progress, but have potential.

Swanigan's lack of fundamentals and inexperience in the low post were evident, however, as he turned the ball over on 20.7% of his 150 total post possessions and regularly over-dribbled into trouble, failed to keep the ball high and rushed passes. When challenged by taller or more athletic defenders, his lack of quickness and explosiveness complicated matters, which certainly doesn't bode well for the next level.

Operating in the high-post and oftentimes as the trailer, the lengthy big man displayed a knack for moving without the ball and finding open space near the extended elbow to take spot-up jump shots. His shot selection was poor, which led to him connecting on a mediocre 35.1% of his spot-up attempts, according to Synergy. He had a tough time when being closed out on and didn't show effective pull-up skills when attacking from the perimeter, but his high release point and length do help to offset his lack of elevation on his shots.

The second year big man has to be more consistent with his shooting mechanics, specifically in terms of his lower body. As is the case with most players, he's more accurate when he catches the ball bent and prepared to shoot rather than when he catches the ball and then bends. He also showed a tendency to widen his base and flail his legs in opposite directions on his follow-through, which contributed to his inconsistency. He has a long way to go before becoming a credible threat from the NBA line, but proving to be a steadier perimeter threat can only help his stock.

Swanigan's athletic limitations and below average instincts are hindrances on the defensive end, too. He is flat-footed, lacks lateral quickness and routinely struggles to keep up with quick, skilled players, especially in isolations. He also shows poor technique on close-outs, using long and slow steps with his arms at his side far too often, which neutralizes his great wingspan. He has difficulty hedging and recovering in pick-and-roll situations, but does fight through screens competitively when guarding the ball, though he has to work on taking better angles to stay in front of his man.

For all his shortcomings, Swanigan is a very good defensive rebounder because he's super long, competitive, hustles, doesn't mind contact or getting on the floor and reads the ball well off the rim thanks to his terrific timing and instincts. He utilizes his frame to establish position and uses his wingspan to corral the ball, though he is limited by his lack of athleticism and mostly rebounds in his own area.

Barring significant improvement, Swanigan faces an uphill battle to carve out a niche at the NBA level, but he'll be a key cog on a well-rounded Top-25 team with the chance to prove he can handle more volume efficiently. All in all, the rising sophomore has a lot to prove to scouts, but is in a great position to do so this upcoming season.

2015 Nike Hoop Summit Video Interview: Caleb Swanigan

Apr 11, 2015, 09:50 am
An interview with Michigan State commit Caleb Swanigan of the USA Junior National Select Team at the 2015 Nike Hoop Summit.

(Video may not load with Internet Explorer. Use Chrome or Firefox)

More DX Nike Hoop Summit Coverage
-Ivan Rabb Interview
-Nike Hoop Summit Shooting Drills: Skal Labissiere
-Nike Hoop Summit Shooting Drills: Tai Wynyard
-Team USA Scrimmage One Recap
-Cheick Diallo Interview
-Tai Wynyard Interview
-One on One Drills: Skal Labissiere vs Thon Maker
-Federico Mussini Interview
-2015 Nike Hoop Summit: International Practice: Day Three
-USA Practice Day One
-Skal Labissiere Interview
-Ben Simmons Interview
-International Practice Recap Days One and Two
-World Select Team Measurements and Analysis
-USA Junior National Select Team Measurements and Analysis
-2015 Nike Hoop Summit International Roster Breakdown

2015 Nike Hoop Summit: USA Junior National Select Team Measurements

Apr 10, 2015, 10:36 pm
Caleb Swanigan
Height (w/ shoes): 6-7.75
Height (w/o shoes): 6-6.75
Weight: 271.2
Wingspan: 7-3.5
Standing Reach: 9-1

One of the heaviest high school players in our database all-time, Caleb Swanigan has hung steady around 270-pounds since last year. His 7'3.5 wingspan is terrific and is one of the reasons he's been such a prolific rebounder at the AAU level. He measures favorably compared to DeJuan Blair who stood 6-6.5 in shoes with a 7-2 wingspan and a 277-pound frame in 2009.

New Batch of USA Basketball Measurements Released on DraftExpress

Oct 03, 2014, 01:51 pm
-Indiana high school star Caleb Swanigan was the heaviest player in attendance at 272 pounds. He's not all that tall, standing just 6'7.25, but his 7'3 wingspan and strength certainly help him compensate.

Latest results

04/14/2024 82 - 121 at Kings Kings
04/12/2024 107 - 116 vs Rockets Rockets
04/11/2024 92 - 100 vs Warriors Warriors
04/09/2024 100 - 110 vs Pelicans Pelicans


DraftExpress Shop