June 23, 2014
School: Arizona State
Height/Weight: 7'2", 254 lbs
Age: 24 years old
Projected NBA Position: Center
Pro Comparison: Jeff Withey
It's hard to get much bigger than this.
Jordan Bachynski has more sheer size than nearly anyone else in this draft class, standing well over seven feet tall and filling out that gigantic frame. That size alone is enough for him to get significant looks from NBA scouts, but so too is the improvement he's shown over his four years at Arizona State.
The 24-year-old went on a Mormon mission trip before joining the Sun Devils, and his freshman year was about as underwhelming as possible. The center was able to average only 2.8 points and 2.3 rebounds per game during his first go-round.
But he's gotten better—a lot better, in fact.
One year after recording the first triple-double in ASU history, Bachynski used his senior season to lead the country in blocked shots (both total blocks and rejections per game) while earning the Defensive Player of the Year award for the Pac-12.
No longer is he just a hulking specimen in the paint, but rather a productive—and still large—NBA prospect.
|Statistics at Arizona State|
Bachynski can tower over just about anyone he faces off against, but he can typically outreach them as well.
According to NBA.com's measurements, the ASU center had a 7'4" wingspan at the draft combine, one that left him trailing only Noah Vonleh and Isaiah Austin. When combined with his insane height, Bachynski is capable of reaching a half inch over nine feet high, the fourth-highest mark at the proceedings.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Not too shabby, huh?
As for his athleticism, not all that much is known. He has good straight-line speed for his size and possesses the lack of quickness and agility normally accompanying such a massive frame, but he also spent most of his time in the paint while playing college ball. When he's drawn out to the perimeter in the Association, anything could happen.
One certainty, though, is that Bachynski needs to get stronger. A 7'2" big man should weigh more than 254 pounds, and his frame is capable of handling more muscle without sacrificing the athletic gifts that he already has at his disposal.
When you can reach nine feet up in the air without jumping, you're bound to alter a lot of shots.
But Bachynski does more than just alter them; he actively seeks out blocks and manages to swat away attempts so that they have no chance of finding the bottom of the net. Throughout the entire NCAA, not one player did so more effectively during the 2013-14 season.
This was not a fluke, either.
Bachynski's blocks per 48 minutes actually declined during his senior season, down from a stellar 5.4 as a junior to "only" 5.2 during his final go-round with the Sun Devils.
The rejections don't just come in a man-to-man setting. He's quite adept at rotating over from the weak side and helping out his man, and he routinely sizes up penetrating ball-handlers before putting himself in proper position to end the possession with one swipe of his lanky arm.
Running the Floor
When a center is this big, mobility is often a concern.
If a player lumbers up and down the court like Roy Hibbert, he's not as beneficial to his team as someone like Andre Drummond, who's going to race from one end to the other. The former will be late to gain defensive positioning and set himself up on the offensive blocks, while the latter can gain a quick advantage over the opposition.
Bachynski falls more toward the latter end of the spectrum. He's quick up and down the floor, which helps him gain early positioning on the low blocks, where he's an easy target for entry passes.
"Athletically, Bachynski has surprising straight line speed for a player his size, but like most 7-plus-footers, he doesn't accelerate or get off the floor especially well," writes DraftExpress.com's Matt Kamalsky.
At the combine, he completed the three-quarter sprint in 3.36 seconds, per NBA.com. While that was at the back end of the pack, it's still noticeably quicker than quite a few frontcourt prospects.
Even though Bachynski scored only 11.5 points per game during his final campaign at Arizona State, he still proved that he could become a nice interior option at the next level.
His size gives him an extreme advantage when he lets fly with those hook shots, as they're virtually unblockable attempts. He has good hands when reeling in interior passes that aren't necessarily right on the mark, and while he isn't going to overpower anyone, he shows a nice, soft touch lofting the ball toward the hoop.
But perhaps most impressively, he can already adjust.
If defenders are overcommitting to his first move, he's going to throw a fake and then get around them for an easy bucket. If they're overplaying his right hand, he's going to go to his left on the next possession to keep them honest going forward.
Granted, he's still a bit predictable due to a limited number of established options, but this cerebral play offers hope that he'll someday have a wider arsenal of go-to moves and counters.
Given his size, health will always be a slight concern, especially because he suffered from ankle maladies early in his career. That said, he's been the picture of perfect health ever since coming to Arizona State, so that's more of a generic, "he's a big man" type of worry.
More problematic is his lack of elite strength, as he can get pushed around in the post and often has trouble asserting himself on offense because he can't do the same or showcase any sort of explosiveness. For that reason, Bachynski can become far too passive when his team has the ball, unnecessarily trying to get out of the way for cutters and penetrating ball-handlers instead of actively gaining proper positioning.
A lack of mobility could also hinder him at the next level.
He was a paint-bound big man in Phoenix, and if he's pulled out to the perimeter, it could virtually negate his shot-blocking skills. Teams will be sure to treat him as the Atlanta Hawks treated Hibbert during the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, spreading the court with shooters to draw him out of the paint and into areas in which he's not as strong a defender.
The final concern is rebounding, as he's never been able to assert himself on the glass. Not only does he lack good instincts for bounces off the iron, but he has trouble holding box-outs and brings the ball down too quickly, leaving himself vulnerable to quick turnovers at the hands of smaller players.
You can't teach size.
Every team could use a behemoth in the paint, as there's always a shortage of 7-footers who can actually play positive basketball. So long as he shows he can run up and down the court without emerging as too big a liability on either end, Bachynski should earn some playing time as a rookie.
That said, it won't be coming in the form of anything more than a garbage-time role. He'll be the man who gets to take the floor when foul trouble hits or the clock is ticking down in a contest that's already decided.
Down the road, Bachynski's tools should start to look like a more complete package. He's come up big in clutch situations—like that game-saving block you can view earlier in this article—and routinely showed off an ability to make adjustments, which speaks well to his ability to improve in the Association.
Is he a future starter? Probably not, but there's merit to being a key big off the bench.
That's the exact role that Bachynski should fill for a long time, as he possesses quite the intriguing combination of size and production on each end of the floor.
But that depends on his ability to become a smarter rebounder. If he continues to function as a liability on the glass—a 7'2" liability, no less—it becomes much more difficult to justify giving him playing time in key situations.