No player in the year’s NBA draft pool is being slept on more than Caleb Swanigan. He is this past season’s Big Ten Player of the Year and was a unanimous first team All-American. Currently, Swanigan is contemplating whether to hire an agent and go to the league, or return to school. This is largely in part to him only being projected to be a late first or early second round pick. That is absolutely ludicrous.
This year’s draft does not feature many great big men, so it is perplexing to see why Swanigan’s draft stock is so low. Caleb just turned 20 years old and was the most dominant big man in college last season. He rebounds. He finds his teammates. He’s one of the most efficient post players in the league. If that’s not enough, he also added the three ball to his bag of tricks this season.
Scouts saw he lacks quickness and explosiveness, but how do you explain him being one of the best rebounders in the game at only 6’9″? Some may claim he is a tweener, but he would be a perfect fit for a Hawks team that even saw Ersan Ilyasova play minutes as the primary big man. With the NBA headed towards small ball, Swanigan is a perfect pick. Some are worried about his defense. The Hawks have proven with players such as Tim Hardaway Jr. that defense can be taught. Others are worried about his weight, as he struggled with obesity as a child. However, we have seen players such as Marc Gasol get rid of the baby fat and have great careers.
Overall, Swanigan averaged 18.5 points per game, 12.5 rebounds, and 3.1 assists, becoming the first college player to break 18-13-3 since Tim Duncan did so at Wake Forest. DraftExpress currently has Swanigan projected to go 37th overall, which would be an absolute steal. His ability to move the ball, shoot it, and grab boards make him a perfect fit for the Hawks.
Some of these scouts are too caught up in measurables and do not focus enough on the game tape. Swanigan can flat out ball.
See for yourself: