Jordan Bachynski, 7-foot-2 center, Arizona State
2013-14 stats: 11.5 PPG, 0.5 APG, 8.2 RPG, .693 FT%
The best shot-blocker in college basketball last season, despite his size, Bachynski has gone largely under the radar, as he’s taken an unlikely path. The married native of Calgary, Alberta, took a two-year Mormon mission, so he’s already 24 years old, but in terms of basketball development, he’s still progressing. Bachynski’s defense is clearly ahead of both his offense and physical frame, but with his ability to protect the rim, patience could be a virtue for a team willing to take a gamble on him.
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Career highlights: Bachynski was a seldom-used reserve as a freshman for the Sun Devils, but became a regular rotation player as a sophomore, averaging six points, four rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. A starter his junior year, Bachynski evolved into a contributor on both ends of the floor, averaging 9.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game, along with a gaudy 58.3 field-goal percentage, leading to Pac-12 all-defensive team honors after recording a 13-point, 12-rebound, 12-block triple-double in a victory against Cal State-Northridge and a dominating 22-point, 15-rebound, six-block effort in a win over UCLA. By his senior year, Bachynski was a legitimate scoring threat and better rebounding presence, posting averages of 11.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and an NCAA-best four blocks per game, making second team all-conference and winning the league’s defensive player of the year award, setting the Pac-12 career blocks record, the Arizona State single-season mark, recording 12 double-doubles and putting up monster performances like his 26-point, nine-rebound, nine-block game to beat Oregon.
Strengths: While Bachysnki’s height certainly helps him defensively, he also possesses tremendous timing and has good agility for his size, allowing him to block shots both on and off the ball. He’s a much-improved rebounder, a result of adding strength over the course of his college career, and runs the floor surprisingly well. Far from an offensive juggernaut, Bachynski has become better at holding his position in the low post and has a soft touch, which was also demonstrated by his free-throw percentage increasing.
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Weaknesses: Still somewhat of a project offensively, Bachysnki will need to continue to add bulk in order to battle in the paint on the next level, particularly because he’s somewhat mechanical when operating on the block. For the same reason, rebounding can’t be considered his forte, as more physical players are able dislodge him when boxing out for position. He’ll likely never be a player coaches can call a play for and expect him to consistently score, but Bachynski must work to not be an offensive liability and not be pushed around, in order to maximize his contributions on the court.
Draft projection: The left-hander is a firm second-round prospect, but while his stock will likely fluctuate depending on how he fares in the pre-draft workout process, going up against more physical or athletic big men, his value in the NBA is clear. Any team looking to shore up its defense or in the market for a reserve shot-blocking presence, but with the patience to allow Bachynski, despite his advanced age, develop a bit offensively and gain strength, would make the most sense for him. Assuming he does make the necessary strides to prove he can be a serviceable role player, Bachynski could have a productive professional career.