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Caleb Swanigan’s Rebounding is Paying Dividends for the Blazers

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Plenty of good things happened this week, but Caleb Swanigan’s hustle on the glass took home this edition of Mom’s Favorite.

NBA: Preseason-Portland Trail Blazers at Toronto Raptors Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

This week’s Mom’s Favorite goes out to a Trail Blazers’ big man who keeps a tidy work space. I’ll confess, I’m not great at cleaning up. Spotlessness just doesn’t give me any kind of a thrill, and as long as I can find what I’m looking for, I’m good. I do pretty good at keeping the kitchen clean, but the rest of the house? Meh. My best method for housekeeping is throwing everything into the middle of the room into a big pile and putting away stuff one item at a time.

Mom’s Favorite : Caleb Swanigan

Due to my respect of people who make cleaning up an art, this week’s Mom’s Favorite award goes to the player whose cleanup effort most impressed me: Trail Blazers big man Caleb Swanigan. After a quiet first week (he played in just one game, against San Antonio), he burst onto the scene during the Indiana game, playing 19 minutes, and scoring a career high 11 points. What really caught my eye was his rebounding effort, particularly his ability to create second chance points on the offensive end.

Despite a rough night against the Lakers (it was a rough night for most of us, let’s face it), Swanigan showed promise in the first three games of the week. During that stretch, he led the team in offensive rebounds (2 per game), and was tied with Aminu for total rebounds (8.7). He also led the team in rebounding percentage (19%), and was second in offensive rebounding percentage (8.8%).

Nice effort, Swanigan! Stay ready and you’ll get regular minutes, especially if you do the little things that extend possessions for you team.

Gold Stars

Congrats to Anfernee Simons on his first points in the NBA!

I am totally in love with his floater, because he actually floats through the air when he’s doing it, as captured in this terrific photo by Trail Blazers’ photographer Bruce Ely. While we’re at it, Gold star for Bruce, too.

By just about any measure, Zach Collins is off to a nice start this season. Compared to how he started his rookie season, he’s scorching hot. The gold star he earns this week is positive reinforcement to let him know that all his hard work and growth has made an impression.

Take a look at his first eight games this season vs the first eight games last season:

In 2017-18 Collins played his 8th game on December 12. In 39 total minutes he scored 3 points on 9 attempts, grabbed 6 rebounds and had 2 assists. He also accumulated 10 fouls and 5 turnovers. He even got a “trillion” against Milwaukee on Nov 30.

*Trillion: box score term regarding a player who records a single minute of action without any additional stats. The player gets a 1 in the minutes played column and zeroes in all the other box score columns.

Through the first 8 games this season, Collins played 170 minutes, scored 87 points, grabbed 34 rebounds and had 11 assists. Room for improvement still exists for the second-year big man. He still accumulates fouls at a high clip (30 total), and needs to clean up the turnovers (10 total). Struggles aside, his averages have significantly improved across the board.

Honorable mentions

Really Tan Portland Ken inspired Halloween costume:

Jake Layman had a perfect 4-4 shooting night against the Pelicans. He’s fun to watch, especially when he tries to hide his smile after completing one of his re-occurring opening dunks. Dan Devine of The Ringer put together a short compilation of quarter-opening plays designed for Layman.

Finally, I don’t anticipate it will be a regular thing for non-Blazers to show up in Mom’s Favorite, but I’ve got to give an honorable mention to Stephen Curry for flying to Portland to watch his brother Seth take on the Lakers.