For a player that was considered to be too slow and unathletic for the NBA Caleb Swanigan’s career in the NBA is off to a solid start this weekend the Las Vegas Summer League got underway. It is normally a chance for rookies, undrafted free agents, and young players to showcase their skills for their new teams. For players not under a contract they get a chance to impress GMs and hope to earn a roster spot. For Swanigan, who is just a rookie, it is a chance to showcase talents at a higher level.
The Trail Blazers played their first two games this weekend in the Vegas Summer League and Caleb impressed many. He averaged 14 points and 10 rebounds in a 72-63 win over the Jazz and a 70-64 loss to the Celtics. Even better, he wasn’t happy with his 16 and 13 Saturday night against Utah:
“It was good. We won,” said Swanigan. “That was all I wanted to come out here and accomplish. So, we did that… You don't always make every shot, you don't do everything right, but if you win, that's all you want at the end of the day."
If his endless motor didn’t all but ensure he’ll be a fan favorite in Rip City, that mentality refusing to be satisfied, even with a quality performance, is certain to make him one of Portland’s most beloved new players. Between pulling down offensive rebounds for putback points and taking every opportunity to rim run in transition, Swanigan showed himself to be the kind of player who Trail Blazers almost always seem to greatly appreciate.
Of course, we knew this would happen. It is just nice to see others be converted and impressed with Caleb when they haven’t seen him before. On Sunday night Caleb started for Portland and played 30 minutes. He finished with 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists in the six point loss to Boston. If you’re looking at where he has improved his game he has only three turnovers so far. He has broken even there with two steals and a blocked shot though.
Obviously, this does not make his career, but it is a solid start for Biggie. We’ll continue to watch his career with great interest.