Many different opinions on Austin, but it's nearly impossible to acquire a center via trade or free agency, and with his ability to shoot the ball. He could be an excellent choice in that 10-20 range.
I think you're confusing Austin's height with the fact he's not a post player. You mention how hard it is to find a center, and you're right, but Austin is a stretch 4 in the NBA. Not to say he can't provide value to a team, but I think you're focusing too hard on the silver lining, which is the whole point of your post, I guess.
The negative is that he doesn't block shots like Mr. Fantastic, he's 7'1'' with that great wingspan and doesn't even get 2 per game (1.4 to be exact) and although his rebounding numbers are nice, Jefferson is the guy who mans up against the big physical players on opposing teams, while Austin guards the 4's and crashes the offensive glass when he's hanging out on the perimeter.
I don't disagree with where you have him slated in the draft, but I just see a specialist in the NBA. A stretch pick and pop 4 who can't guard more physical players or centers. I wouldn't take him before 15. Someone may bite on him earlier, but I don't see the upside of him being an All-Star, I also don't see him drifting out of the league after his rookie contract. I just see a specialist.
Thus far, he's not a post player, but it's not out of the question to develop that skill. If he were to do the work in the gym and get bigger, I think that possibility exists. As a specialist, he would warrant about 5-7 mil a year, but most starting centers average about 10 mil a year. So I think a compelling argument can be made that if he works hard to be that post player, and retains his perimeter skills. That he could be a very good player, but certainly one with risk
Andrea Bargnani plus some rebounding. Does that sound about right?
It sounds pretty good but Austin is no where near the shooter that Bargnani is. Austin is shooting 22-68 from 3 and 35-61 from the FT line. 32% and 57% don't look too good for a stretch four. At 21 as a rookie Bargnani shot 37% hitting 100 NBA 3's and 82% from the FT line. There is no way Austin is going to do that and I can't see him ever hitting 100 3's in an NBA season. He could develop into a nice player but from what I have seen I am not taking him in the lottery.
I think that's reasonable, however I never saw Bargnani at a similar age so that makes it difficult.
When a team is big enough to body Austin, he fades out to the perimeter (which is only going to be worse in the NBA). When on the perimeter, there are two ways to look at him. For a 19-year old 7-footer, he looks to have promise. On the curve of simply being a player out on the perimeter, his reputation far exceeds his results. While Bargnani is a punching bag to many, he is still a very good mid-range shooter. Why he has lost his touch the past few years from behind the arc, I don't know, but he is still excellent from 16-20. Austin isn't a great shooter outside the paint at this point. He is a fluid shooter who is comfortable taking perimeter shots, but on most nights since conference has started he is not shooting a particularly good percentage. The reality is that his best option is to return for another year of college. Whether it is his body filling out or him actually making the perimeter shots he is taking, he is much further off from a useful NBA player than you seem to think.
I said he has to get bigger, also wasn't Bargnani a few years older when he entered the draft. Theres a big difference between 19 and 21.
As Joe Wolf points out, Bargnani was a year older. That said, the fact that Bargnani was a year older when he declared doesn't mean that Bargnani wasn't also better at age 19 than Austin is now. He was with Benetton in 2004-05 when they had one of the best teams in Italy (best record) and the Euroleague (lost in the quarters). His role and production grew as that year went along to where he was averaging 9 points and 4 rebounds in 19 minutes during the Italian League Playoffs and shooting better than 50 percent. He was primed for the breakout year that ultimately led to his being the top overall pick in 2006. Austin has gotten worse as the year has gone on, in no small part because he is taking more perimeter shots and isn't particularly good at them. For him to leave for the NBA after this year is asking for trouble. He is a 42 percent shooter in Big 12 games, and that is propped up by his games against Texas Tech and TCU. The distance from where he is playing to where he would need to be to be useful in the NBA is much too far to think he is a good bet as a first rounder this year.
Bargs was 20 when he was drafted and turned 21 a week or so before the season started. Bargs will be 1 year older than Austin was during the draft process, as their birthdays are 2 days apart. Austin would turn 20 a few days before the 2013-14 season started. Bargs was also 249 lbs during the pre-draft camp as a 20 year old.
I appreciate the accurate info, and understand all of your points. We can circle back in 3-4 years and see what happened. Until then we are arguing opinions not facts. However, if I had a pick in the teens, I would take him. In my opinion the pros outweigh the cons. In conclusion, I wouldn't take him over Olynyk, but like him better then Plumlee and Gobert and the other Euros.
Hell I was touting Olynyk when he was a back up. It's funny but I had to wait for him to start before I posted this article.
Anyway, I enjoy the comments from such knowledgeable fans, players and coaches. Thanks and have a great weekend