We have all been witnesses.
College basketball fans across the country were truly blessed to watch Purdue forward Caleb Swanigan this year. The 6’9” 250 lb forward for the Boilermakers had a fantastic all around season. Swanigan averaged 18.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. He led Purdue to a Big Ten regular season title and a four seed in the Midwest region of the NCAA Tournament. Purdue fans enjoyed a Sweet 16 finish, including a 80-76 win over a hot Iowa State team.
At the center of all those Boilermaker victories, was the player they fondly call “Biggie.”
While he has yet to officially announce his decision, it is widely speculated that Swanigan will declare for this year’s NBA Draft.
But just how does he project as an NBA player? Let’s take a closer look.
Caleb Swanigan NBA Breakdown
After his freshman season, Swanigan did declare for the NBA Draft, but failed to meet the conditioning expectations necessary for NBA success. After an underwhelming performance at the Combine, Swanigan returned to Purdue for his sophomore season.
It couldn’t have worked out any better.
Swanigan was just named an AP First Team All American, Purdue’s first All American since JaJuan Johnson in 2011.
He greatly improved his conditioning this season as well, raising his minutes played per game from 25.7 to 32.5 this season. Swanigan also drastically improved his three-point shooting this year, finishing at 45 percent (38 of 85), up from 29 percent in 2015-’16. He tallied 28 double-doubles on the season, and grabbed over 20 or more rebounds four times.
If Swanigan wanted to prove to the scouts that he was NBA truly ready, this season was a huge success.
Where will Swanigan be drafted?
If Swanigan does declare for the NBA draft, he is likely a first round selection. Not only can he score and rebound, but his passing and court vision is underrated. Swanigan averaged 3.1 assists per game, with a supporting cast that is not as strong as many other top programs nationally.
The free throw line is another area of strength, where Swanigan improved from 71.3 percent to 78.7 percent this season. By shooting 52 percent from the field, 44 percent from three point range, and almost 80 percent from the foul line, Swanigan provides three key statistics that are rare for NBA draft prospects regardless of position.
As for his projected landing spot? It depends on the specific team needs. As a likely mid to late round first round draft pick, Swanigan has a wide net of teams that would potentially be interested in his services. Teams will value his well-documented work ethic, that has brought him from obesity and poverty to an AP All-American.
Equally as impressive as Swanigan’s achievements is that is is still currently 19 years old. He will turn 20 in April, giving teams yet another reason to take a chance on the 2017 Big Ten Player of the Year.
Provided he declares for the NBA Draft, Swanigan should be a mid to late first round draft pick. The team that drafts him will be getting a dominant college player, who’s young, and has an incredible work ethic. He made huge improvements over the past year, which moved him from a second round flyer to a potential first round selection.
A scoring and rebounding machine, that is over 40 percent from three point range, and almost 80 percent from the foul line?
Sounds like “Biggie” is destined for a long NBA career.