Caleb Swanigan might have made a ginormous mistake. The 6’9 forward from Purdue has opted to keep his name in the NBA Draft. It’s a bold move for Swanigan, who might not be taken in the first round.
Last season, Swanigan was one of the Nation’s top big men. With averages of 18.5 points and 12.5 rebounds, it’s easy to see why he was so widely regarded. Yet when it comes to the NBA, Swanigan might not be the player he was at Purdue.
Swanigan’s rebounding totals are going to garner him a lot of attention. Any player averaging over 12 per game will be attractive to potential NBA teams. The real issue with Swanigan is he’s not nearly as athletic or quick as his competition, a major concern for NBA GM’s.
In addition, Swanigan isn’t a very solid defender. Being 6’9, and one of Purdue’s most reliable bigs, you’d expect him to average more than 0.8 blocks per game. A lot of that can be attributed to the presence of Purdue’s, Issac Haas, but still a cause for concern.
This isn’t the first time Swanigan has tested the NBA Draft waters. After his freshman season, he announced his intent to enter the draft. Things didn’t go as planned for him, as many teams weren’t impressed by his conditioning. That was a major emphasis on his Sophomore season, and he seems to have righted some of the issues.
Not many draft experts have Swanigan going in the first round. In fact, I’ve really yet to see any place him anywhere but the second. A lot of Swanigan’s stock will be placed on his individual workout with teams. All it takes is one GM to fall in love with you and he’s got a guaranteed contract.
There is a chance Swanigan cracks the first round of the NBA Draft. However, with the uncertainty of it, you wonder why he didn’t stay in school and take another massive jump in production like he did from freshman to sophomore year.
Swanigan has definitely helped his stock since returning for his sophomore year. He’s addressed the conditioning issue from his previous draft attempt, and while some red flags still exist, there has been a great improvement in production from a year ago.
Will all of the work Swanigan has put in be able to land him a first round selection? Was it the smart decision to leave Purdue after two years? Only time will tell.
Follow Daniel James Gentile on Twitter @dgentleman9288