Blazers open training for Summer League

More than a dozen Portland Trail Blazers took to the court for workouts Tuesday, including the team's first round draft picks Zach Collins (left) and Caleb Swanigan (second from left). (KATU Photo)

The Blazers opened training for Summer League on Tuesday with a workout at their practice facility in Tualatin.

First round draft picks Zach Collins and Caleb Swanigan are in the spotlight as they begin their professional basketball careers.

“I did well today,” says Swanigan, a 20-year-old, 6-foot-9-inch forward and the Big Ten player of the year at Purdue.

He was selected number 26 by the Blazers.

“It’s competitive,” says Swanigan, “and like I said before, that’s all I want to do when I come out and play and be competitive. I wasn’t really nervous today. The nervous part is over. Now I’m on the team and it’s just time to work.”

Collins is just 19 and is listed as 7 feet tall, and 230 pounds on the Summer League roster. The former Gonzaga star said he didn’t shoot very well, but was pleased with the way he played.

“Just trying to get the feel for the NBA game right now,” says Collins. “The shots will start falling; I’m not too worried about that, but I thought I played really well on defense and the defensive schemes, and what they’re looking for on defense. I thought I did a pretty good job.”

There are a pair of Blazers on the Summer League team: guard Pat Connaughton and forward Jake Layman. Blazers stars Damian Lillard and Jusef Nurkic worked out before camp even started.

“It’s really important,” says Blazers Assistant Coach Jim Moran. “I mean, these guys come into practice, and we’ve got two of our best players, full sweat, been working out for an hour and a half together. You know I think it’s important for them to see that and not just to see that the best players work, but how hard our best players work and it’s a good example for them to have.”

The Blazers first Summer League game is Saturday at 3 p.m. against Utah at the Cox Pavilion.

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