LAS VEGAS – It didn’t take long for the Trail Blazers rookies to make an impact Saturday in the Blazers’ 72-63 win over Utah in both team's Las Vegas Summer League opener.
Caleb Swanigan, the No. 26 overall pick in last month’s draft, scored the first basket of the game on what figures to be his signature play – an offensive-rebound putback in traffic.
One offensive possession later, Zach Collins – the No. 10 overall pick – threaded a nice backdoor bounce pass to Jake Layman, who dunked. Collins, a 19-year-old 7-footer, followed up the pass with a polished turnaround jumper from the baseline on the next possession.
By the end of the game, it was Swanigan who made the biggest impression as the 6-foot-9 power forward finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds and several hustle plays that ended up with him on the court or saving balls from going out of bounds. Half of his points came from the free throw line as he punished Utah inside, even as he struggled through 4-of-12 shooting, which included one three pointer.
Collins, meanwhile, had a sputtering debut as he went 3-for-13 from the field and had five turnovers. Most of his turnovers came as he struggled to secure the ball in traffic, resulting in him being stripped or losing control. Collins finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
Pat Connaughton, the Blazers player with the most at stake at Summer League, struggled with his shot – missing all five, including three three-pointers – but he finished with a game-high six assists. Connaughton needs a solid showing in Las Vegas in order for the Blazers to guarantee his $1.4 million contract before the July 25 deadline.
Jake Layman, who started at small forward, had 13 points and five rebounds while making 4-of-8 from the field, including 2-of-6 from three-point range.
Utah was led by guard Donovan Mitchell, the No. 13 overall pick, who had 19 points.
Next up: Blazers vs. Boston, Sunday 5:30 p.m. (CSN, ESPN2)