|Jordan Bachynski, pointing at chests.|Jordan Bachynski
, Arizona State, Senior, 7'2 250lbs2013/14 stats:
30.9 mpg, 11.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 4.0 bpg, 0.5 apg, 0.4 spg, 3.0 fpg, 1.5 TOpg, 54.5% FG, 69.3% FT
The first thing to note is that Bachynski led the country in blocks last season, and he did so while playing in a much improved Pac-12 that was certainly no cakewalk.
The second thing to note is that Bachynski turns 25 in September, after two years away on a Mormon mission and one other year largely missed due to ankle surgery. And while that's not to say that he cannot improve further - if this was true, he wouldn't have improved like he did as a senior - it tempers the upside and the NBA potential he might otherwise have had.
On the face of it, Bachynski could be an NBA player. He has enough length, speed, skill and productivity to perform there in a limited role. Whilst Bachysnki remains quite small for a 7'2 player (if such a thing is not too ridiculous to say) he nevertheless has timing and interior defensive positioning, rim protecting skills that will translate to any level. Bachynski has great shotblocking instincts and the length to go get them, contesting everything around the paint and doing so with an acceptable if improvable foul rate. Physically, Bachynski has a fairly narrow frame that still doesn't have as much muscle on it as it could do, with mediocre to reasonable athleticism and mobility rather than extravagant explosiveness. But 7'2 is 7'2, and 7'2 with a 7'4 wingspan and shot blocking instincts is always to be valued. He also does a better job than most of keeping these blocked shots in bounds, which of course is guaranteed to induce Bill Russell references.
The shotblocking is certainly the crux of his game, which is to be valued. However, everything else has significant concerns. Offensively, Bachysnki creates little in the post, rebounds only mediocrely for a man with a constant size advantage (not having the foot speed to rebound out of his area, and without the strength to always hold position), and is slower trying to move laterally than when running in a straight line. A lot of his weaknesses can be attributed to his toughness, or lack of it - too easily stripped in the post, and too easily outmuscled for a positioning, Bachysnki has to rely on his length to overcome his lack of strength. There's nothing outside of the paint area, almost no jumpshot (although a greatly improved free throw stroke suggests it is still a possibility down the road), and no handle.
That said, Bachysnki is not just a one trick shotblocker of a pony. He works hard to get position, can catch and finish down in the paint, and has developed his footwork and awareness to the point that he has a calmer, more experienced head on him down there. He can throw a slight fake and step under, reposition himself and take his time in reading the defender, finishing with short hook shots with both hands. Indeed, the length often can overcome the strength, and Bachynski's touch, especially with his left hand, is pretty soft.
However, there are still flaws with Bachysnki's offensive game. He has shown little in the way of a passing game, be it from the post facing outwards or the midrange looking in, still lacks for creativity and counter moves, and despite his height can still struggle to finish over or through size when challenged at the rim. This, as can most things in his game, can come back to his strength and his toughness, which are very valid and possibly terminal questions from an NBA point of view. Bachynski just isn't that strong, powerful or fast, and for all his improvement, likely isn't skilled enough to make up for these things.
Even in the new era NBA, a 7'2 centre is valuable, particularly one with sufficient mobility to keep up with the faster game. Bachynski brings the height and shotblocking found so surprisingly rarely on this list, and even if he is not overly effective in the post, he recognises it as the place to be. This counts for something on the court, and it also counts for something in the sentimental minds of the folks whose job it is to make decisions as to who takes those courts. It would be towards the end of the draft, of course, yet Bachynski has shown enough to merit a late second round flier - if he can improve some combination of his strength, jump shot, post play, toughness and rebounding instincts, he could perhaps stick in the NBA for a little while.
On the flip side, even if you felt he could develop into an NBA player, would an underdeveloped 25 year old ever need drafting? If he's only a late second round pick calibre talent, couldn't you use that pick on a long term project and then just sign him afterwards?