NBA Comparison: Alexis Ajinca
Strengths: Austin is a stretch 4 with excellent outside shooting for Pick and Pop and his very nice touch with both hands around the rim … He is essentially a big man who likes to play outside … His feet are quick and his lateral quickness is good for a big, long player like him and it allows him to be very aggressive in defense on P&R and contain PGs on switches thanks to his great size … His greatest asset offensively right now is the ability to finish on both blocks turning over both shoulders, however he would get the best out of his career if he can improve his outside shooting percentages … Last year he shot barely 30% on spot up/catch and shoot and under 30% form the 3pts arc … Playing a role similar to Pero Antic with the Hawks would appear to be within his reach … In defense he also shows a solid IQ and understanding of the game, with great reads on help side, which in addition to his height makes him disruptive … He is not a rim protector because of lack of strength but he is an underrated athlete who can get off the floor quickly, something that could ultimately make him an interesting defensive presence … Surprising ball handling and ability to drive for a 7-footer, but questionable how much he will be able to utilize this in NBA …
Weaknesses: Body strength is a major concern: particularly offensively because he will struggle to catch the ball in desirable deep areas with greater chances of converting … It seems unlikely that he could ever be a force in the paint where he has struggled a lot in college to hold position and get deep touches in the post … Should improve his mid-range and face up game … Defensively he may struggle against stronger opponents around the basket … It is a priority for him to find rhythm in his jumper and become a great pick and pop guy, and punish defense on top-down plays … I would like to see him more aggressive on the offensive end where many times he just seems to be too passive … A big area of concern is the really low rebound rate, partially due to the fact that he contested so many shots making it hard for him to get back in the mix for the rebounds. But it is also true that he doesn’t seem to have the instinct for rebounds and hunger for it that bigs in the NBA need to have … He often is lazy and forgets to box out, something you cannot get away with at the NBA level … Maybe the biggest area of concern for Austin is his vision. Austin is legalblind in one eye, which could be a real concern for teams. Alvin Jones, a former 2nd rounder out of Georgia Tech is the only other known NBA player to have played without vision in one of his eyes ….
Notes: The Baylor product came out of high school hyped like few other bigs and top 5 in his recruiting class … 7’1 with a 7’3 wingspan, with an incredibly soft touch it isn’t hard to understand why he was considered a very likely candidate to be a one and one in college … After a decent first year averaging around 14ppg and 8rpg with a lot of up and downs he decided to come back to Baylor for his sophomore year in the hope of showing scouts the consistency they wanted to see … The result wasn’t exactly what Austin was hoping for. He did lead Baylor to the Sweet 16 playing a solid brand of basketball in the tournament. However the inconsistency night in and night out was still there and his production on offense was essentially the same … His rebounds dipped to 5 rpg, although he greatly improved his help side defense with an impressive 3 blocks per game … Despite his obvious deficiencies, in the current playoffs we are seeing the impact that a stretch 4 and 5 can have on a series and if Austin works hard on his weaknesses, he could become a quality shooter, and a valuable asset …
Rick Fois 4/30/14
Strengths: The 7’0” center out of Arlington Grace Prep Academy is the nephew of former NBA center Isaac ‘Ike’ Austin, and he wears the eye-goggles to match … Austin promises to be a top 5 pick in the NBA draft if he continues to improve … He has immense length and uses it by blocking several shots and altering numerous others … His timing is very good, knowing when to leap for a block and when to stay on the ground, even if he does lean in with his arms picking up unnecessary fouls … His wingspan is in the neighborhood of 7’4”, and he can almost dunk on his tippy-toes … He could end up 7’2” – 7’4” when he’s finished growing … Austin also shows a great shooting touch and range out to the three-point line, which for his age and size is quite advanced … He likes to work from the high post or top of the key, and looks for passes into the post and to cutters when his shot isn’t there … You can see the talent is there, and he has a healthy fire inside of him and the willingness to get his team talking as a defensive leader.
Weaknesses: Besides long jumpers and shots out of pick and pop situations, Isaiah doesn’t have much of an offensive game … His back-to-the-basket moves are extremely simple, and a little bit uncoordinated, and he gets pushed around down low due to his long thin frame … However, he never hesitates to push back and always keeps two hands on the ball when initiating contact – both signs of a true, fundamental big-man at the next level … He is very raw, and will need to bulk up and fill out his body to continue to be dominant on the court … Right now, he’s a special talent, but is really just a shot-blocker/jump shooter.
Joshua Motenko 8/3/09