Canadian center Jordan Bachynski was a shot blocking machine as a senior at Arizona State in 2013-14, but that wasn’t enough to get him drafted that summer by the NBA. He’s big, a legit 7’2 250 lbs and he’s outgoing, friendly and coachable, however, he was almost 25-years-old heading into the draft. Bachynski ended up signing with the NBA D-League Westchester Knicks last season. A year later and the big Canadian was ready to show his stuff.
“At the beginning of this year my coaches really encouraged me to run because I run very well for my size,” Bachynski told Pro Bball Report. “So, that’s been a huge focus for me to run the floor and get ahead of guys because I’m a lot faster than a lot of the bigs out there and even if I don’t get the ball, what happens is opponents see they have to come and guard me and it opens up so much for us.
“Every possession I’m working at running and I put a lot of time in the weight room and gained a lot of weight and I’m keeping it on and feeling strong and feeling good.”
Just from appearances, Bachynski looks in better shape than he did coming out of college and the weight gain is backed up by official (unbiased) measurements. He weighed 254 lbs at the NBA Draft Combine in 2014 and upped that to 265 lbs at the D-League Elite Camp heading into this season. Although he seems more focused on speed rather than strength.
“Any way I can help my team,” Bachynski said. “One of the ways I do is to sprint down and make those wings, those guards guard me and I get deep post position or it makes my guards open for three on the wing.”
Bachynski is one of the returning players from the Westchester Knicks initial season and the New York Knicks have set this program up right. The Knicks are looking to develop players and build those bonds so players they don’t have the ability to hang on to don’t want to leave for another team.
“The Westchester Knicks do a great job taking care of us,” Bachynski said. “We have a really great setup. It’s one of if not the best setup in the D-League. We practice in the Knicks facility. We have a full-time athletic trainer so any bumps or bruises we get we have someone to take care of us. We have top-notch housing and on top of that our coaches here, he’s a phenomenal coach. I love playing for him. I am happy I’m with Westchester.”
Remembering the D in D-League stands for development, every player including Bachynski is hoping for a bigger payday somewhere else, but Bachynski sees himself as a future NBA player and after watching him run the court at his size that’s not an unrealistic goal.
“Obviously my goal is to get to the NBA and I honestly believe I’m an NBA player.”
The Toronto Raptors had brought him in for a predraft workout and invited him to Summer League. So, not surprisingly, the Raptors 905 were very interested in acquiring the big Canadian this past summer, but Westchester wasn’t about to let him go and they were right.
“He’s having a big time year,” Raptors 905 head coach Jesse Mermuys said. “We had talked about trying – obviously we had him in Summer League. We like him. He’s Canadian. We wanted to explore possibly bringing him in to this team and they (Westchester) were not having it. They wanted him and that was the right move by them because he’s having a big time year for them.
“Defensively he’s been good for them and his scoring is up and he’s obviously developing his game. He’s a load. He’s a big boy. He’s tough. He’s not soft at all. You have to battle, fight for position.”
“At college my game was very one-sided,” Bachynski said. “I was a back to the basket big who defended really well and defense has been my token, that’s what I do and the (Knicks) have really encouraged me to develop my defensive presence, but have also encouraged me to learn how to be a better offensive player and I think that’s one thing the triangle has really helped me with. It’s helped me when I get the ball to slow down, take a breath, see all my options and if I see an open man, I’m hitting him, I’m not a black hole like a lot of bigs. I try and spread the ball around and make the best possible play.”
Bachynski is getting noticed. Averaging 13.3 points on 59.5 percent shooting, 6.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 2.8 blocks in 26.1 minutes over 24 games with Westchester this season, he is currently rated 12th on the NBA D-League Prospects Watch List.