While the lion’s share of attention among basketball fans north of the border has been rightfully aimed at NBA hopefuls Tyler Ennis, Andrew Wiggins, and Nik Stauskas during the last few weeks, fellow Canuck and Jordan Bachynski is the player who has what the Toronto Raptors are looking for.
A native of Calgary, Alberta, Bachynski is definitely one of the country’s lesser-known prospects due in large part to the fact that he played his college basketball in the Pac-12, a conference that’s rarely given exposure in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes, where much of Canada’s hoops-related fanbase resides.
But now that the Raptors are looking to add some Canadian content and in the market for a rebounder with size and the ability to play some serious defense in the trenches, Bachynski could be their man.
A projected second-rounder, Bachynski is also no stranger to the concept of national pride on the hardwood with 14 games of experience during the 2013 Summer FISU Universiade. Aside from the obvious attraction that would come with drafting the franchise’s very first Canuck, the Raptors could secure the center without having to use their first-round selection.
Initially, Bachynski’s arrival to the NCAA was far from a success, and the player that we see before us today on the verge of a career in the pros is the product of hard work, dedication, and four seasons in one of the country’s top conferences under the tutelage of head coach Herb Sendik and his staff at Arizona State.
During his freshman year, Bachynski saw just 10 minutes of action per game, which resulted in almost nonexistent numbers of 2.8 PPG and 2.3 RPG, but the surprisingly agile big man continued to work and develop into a serviceable center, and as a sophomore, averaged 6.0 ppg, and 4.0 rpg in 17.4 minutes a contest.
But after learning the ropes in his first two seasons as a Sun Devil, Bachynski took a significant step forward in his development as a junior with 9.8 PPG, 5.9 RPG, and 3.4 BLKPG, which was only the prelude to a dominant senior campaign in which the Canadian essentially sent the NBA notice of his pending arrival.
While the 11.5 PPG and 8.5 RPG he averaged in his final year at ASU would have already been enough to warrant a closer look from NBA scouts, Bachynski’s progression into a defensive specialist makes the former Pac-12 standout a valuable commodity in a shoot-first world that rarely stresses fundamentals. After leading the nation with 133 blocked-shots this past season, Bachynski was named ”The Pac-12 Defensive Player Of The Year” in a talented conference against formidable competition.
Considering that he’s got both the size and skillset to be an effective center at the next level, and doesn’t shy away from contact in the low post, why wouldn’t the Raptors take a chance on Bachynski if it doesn’t cost the team any more than a second-rounder?