With five double-doubles in seven games, Trail Blazers rookie forward Caleb Swanigan had more double-doubles than any other player in the Las Vegas Summer League, capping it off with 25 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in Monday’s championship loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. By averaging a double-double in Vegas, Swanigan became just the fourth rookie to do so at Summer League, joining the likes of Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and Marreese Speights.
When told of the feat, and asked if it held any value, Swanigan simply responded:
“No. Keep working.”
It’s that drive that sets the former Purdue big man apart and likely sold president of basketball operations Neil Olshey on taking him with the No. 26 pick in last months NBA Draft. In Vegas, Swanigan’s motor was on full display as the 6-9, 250 lb. forward made an impact at both the offensive and defensive ends for the Blazers to earn All-Summer League First Team honors and becoming a Rip City Fan Favorite in the process.
“The kid works his tail off,” said Portland Summer League coach Jim Moran. “He’s a great kid. Every time the ball is up in the air, he thinks he’s got a shot at the rebound and there’s not a lot of guys in this league — at this level in Summer League — that do stuff like that.”
“Caleb had an excellent Summer League,” echoed head coach Terry Stotts. “He showed what he can do at both ends of the floor. His passing really stood out; his competitive nature stood out. He’s gonna find ways to be productive. I was surprised he shot the three maybe a little bit better than people thought.
“He was the Big Ten Player of the Year and First Team All-American. To me, that’s pretty good advertising.”
Next, Swanigan will continue to refine his skills ahead of his rookie NBA season. His plans are to head home to Ft. Wayne, Indiana before returning to Las Vegas for Tim Grgurich’s camp in August. Swanigan will then make his home in Portland just ahead of training camp in September.
Ultimately, Stotts is eager to see Swanigan’s development ahead of the 2017-18 campaign.
“It’s not about jumps, it’s all about stages,” Stotts explained. “He had a very good week. I think he figured things out pretty well, he’s gonna go to Grg’s camp second week of August, that’ll be another good experience, and then another month until training camp starts. It’s not about what he needs to work on, it’s a gradual process.
“He’s a sharp, sharp young man… He’s got until September 26 until camp starts just to keep getting better.”