Portland Trailblazers Draft Caleb Swanigan #26 Overall

Portland Trailblazers Draft Caleb Swanigan #26 Overall

My mans.

Biggie Swanigan weighed over 360lbs six years ago. In 2017, he was a consensus All American, a National Player of the Year finalist, and led our Purdue Boilermakers to the Sweet Sixteen.

And now, he's the most recent addition to the Portland Trailblazers. Here's what I wrote about Biggie's fit with the Blazers in my giant Swanigan draft preview:

#26: Portland Trailblazers
Fit Score: 9/15

Offensive Fit: 3/5

Defensive Fit: 2/5

Coaching staff & organizational culture: 4/5

(The Blazers also own picks 15 and 20.)

Portland was in a tough position last summer. They had two fantastic backcourt pieces in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, and a handful of young productive talent that led them to a surprise second round playoff appearance. Unfortunately for their front office, most of that young talent needed new contracts, and the NBA salary cap exploded. Portland ended up with the second highest payroll in the league (behind Cleveland), with players like Allen Crabbe, Festus Ezeli, Evan Turner, Anderson Varejao, Moe Harkless, and Ed Davis eating a good chunk of their salary.

Portland primarily plays with McCollum or Lillard on the floor at all times, surrounded by three versatile wings and one center (either Meyers Leonard or the acquired Jusuf Nurkic). Though this is a promising young team with needs in the frontcourt and a great offensive coach in Terry Stotts, the style of play might not be a great fit for Biggie. If Swanigan can develop into a bruiser that can effectively space the floor and switch flawlessly on pick and rolls (compensating for Lillard and McCollum’s poor defense), he’d be an ideal Draymond Green-esque piece the Blazers have been desperately searching for. Unfortunately, I see PNR defense as a hole Biggie’s unmatched work ethic might not be able to improve upon.

Style of play remains a concern, especially when Biggie's best NBA fit was alongside great wing defenders who can easily switch or shade over. Portland doesn't have that, though Nurkic was pretty solid down the stretch.

Portland also traded up to draft Gonzaga PF Zach Collins at #10, so overall this is kind of a puzzling draft choice. When writing the above blurb, I kept thinking about innovative HC Terry Stotts using Biggie in smallball center lineups, so we might see how all of those ill-fitting Draymond Green comparisons work out. (Spoiler: they're lazy.)

But, in terms of personality, he'll fit right in with Stotts and Dame Lillard. They're always a fun team to watch, and now Portland has a few more fans from central Indiana.

Here are some fun Twitter reactions for our beautiful Biggie:

It’s Okay To Be Excited -- Purdue Football Has An Identity Again

It’s Okay To Be Excited -- Purdue Football Has An Identity Again

81661E 5.

81661E 5.

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