This summer the Sun Devils bid farewell to the two players most responsible for giving them their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2009. Point guard Jahii Carson used his supernatural speed and athleticism to average 18.6 points, 4.6 assists and 4 rebounds per game last season. Center Jordan Bachynski was the safety valve in the middle, leading the NCAA in blocks per game with four to go along with 11.5 points and 8.2 rebounds. Despite the great careers they had at ASU, don’t expect their names to be called until the second round.
Jahii Carson to the Phoenix Suns with the 50th pick
This is more than a case of sending a player who went to high school in Mesa and college in Tempe to the NBA team in Phoenix just because it sounds good. The Suns have a need at the point guard spot, assuming Eric Bledsoe starts at shooting guard, but they also have needs at both forward positions. With three first-round picks, Phoenix will likely use at least two of them on forwards and could even take a point guard as well. However, with Ish Smith as the only other point guard behind Goran Dragic, it would make a lot of sense to grab Carson even if they already drafted another player at his position.
Carson has worked out for the Suns multiple times leading up to the draft, and his dynamic style of play fits perfectly with the Suns up-tempo offense. Carson will have to improve defensively and will also have to cut down on the turnovers, as he gave up the ball 3.5 times per game last season with the Sun Devils. The good news is that there are no better players to help him with those problems than Dragic, who won the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award last season, and Bledsoe, a fellow undersized guard who is one of the Suns’ best defensive stoppers.
Jordan Bachynski to the Toronto Raptors with the 59th pick
The Raptors need big bodies, and it doesn’t get any bigger than the 7-foot-2 Bachynski. Behind starting center Jonas Valanciunas on the depth chart is the 6-foot-6 Chuck Hayes, who averaged just over two points and three rebounds last season and is 31 years old. Bachynski will already be 25 by the start of the season, but he isn’t the prospect you draft based on potential and upside. Teams will already know what he brings to the table.
Bachynski is the prototypical enforcer and will give his team defensive rebounding, blocked shots and five hard fouls. Offensively, he has shown a decent hook shot in the paint, but don’t expect for him to make a name for himself on that end of the floor. As they look to return to the playoffs, the Raptors will enjoy having a rookie at the center position without having to gauge what his role on the team will be. It would also be nice for the fans in Toronto to get to cheer for an actual Canadian.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @HKossodo