Scouting Report – Isaiah Austin
Name: Isaiah Austin Age: 20 School: Baylor
Height: 7’0 ½ Weight: 220 Projected Position: PF/C
11.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.4 apg, 0.4 spg, 3.1 bpg, 1.8 tpg (28.0 minutes per game)
44.9 FG%, 67.9 FT%, 27.7 3FG%, 51.3 TS%, 47.4 eFG%
23.5 USG%, 9.1 ORB%, 13.6 DREB%, 11.4 TRB%, 11.8 BLK%
SKILLS & ATHLETIC BREAKDOWN
Austin is an average offensive post player, though you would hope for a lot more out of a 7-footer. He does a good job using his body to establish position in the post area, though he needs to work on building his strength and using his lower body to seal off defenders. He sets a good target for passers and has very good hands, though he doesn’t have any real go-to back-to-the-basket post moves. He will try to make moves over either shoulder, and he will often try to take a few dribbles into the lane for a short hook shot. Austin needs on being able to use his left hand to shoot when he is around the basket, especially when making a move over his right shoulder. He has shown a nice ability to hit a quick turnaround jumper out of the low post on either side, as well as the occasional face-up move or jumper. Austin needs to work on getting a better sense of where the defense is before he makes a move, often heading right into help defenders. Austin isn’t a strong screener, but as the “roll” man in the pick-and-roll, he has to work on opening up to the ball and moving quicker towards the basket, looking for the pass. He can also be used as a pick-and-pop option in the mid-range area. Austin can be slow to handle double-teams, but he showed some improvement during the season. With his size and ability to see over the defense, he needs to be able to spot open teammates quicker and make strong passes.
Austin is a good ballhandler for his size, able to use both hands well, and he will look to attack the basket in either direction, though he doesn’t have great control after 2 or 3 dribbles. Austin uses his long strides well to get into the lane area, and he actually has nice footwork and body control for his size. Austin needs to do a better job keeping his head up when heading to the basket to make sure he doesn’t head right into the defense. Austin needs to work on using his left hand around the basket to finish. Even if he is making a move to his left, he will always force a spin move to be able to shoot with his right hand. There’s no reason at his size not to be able to use his left hand within a few feet of the basket.
Austin has the ability to be a good perimeter shooter, though it is disconcerting that at 7 feet tall, he would rather play on the perimeter. He has a high release and good follow-through; though he can be quicker getting his shots off, even if he has the size to shoot over most players. Austin has shown range to the NBA three-point line, but because of his lack of strength, he often struggles to hit long-range shots consistently. He can hit his jumper off the dribble well in the mid-range area, and he does a good job using a dribble or two to get a better look at the basket. Austin is not a very strong screener, but if he does get open in pick-and-pop situation, he should be able to knock down open shots.
Free Throw Shooting
Austin is a below-average free throw shooter, but he has a decent shooting motion and follow-through and should improve over time. He has a consistent routine and good balance at the line, though at times his motion seems to be abbreviated and he loses something on the follow-through. Austin doesn’t get to the foul line often, especially for his size, mainly because he likes to play on the perimeter. He goes to the free throw line around .4 times for every field goal attempt, but he draws at a better rate when he sticks to playing around the basket.
Post Defense/Help Defense
Austin tries to be a good post defender, and he has some good fundamentals, he just doesn’t have the strength needed to effectively defend many other big men. He sets a balanced base with his legs and positions himself well between his man and the basket, but he gets backed down easily and needs to build his lower body strength. Also, his footwork and reaction time can be slow and he can beat easily with a quick move in either direction. Austin uses his length well to deny passing lanes, and he will get his hands on some passes made into the post. He needs to watch using his upper body to push his man off the post, and learn to use his lower body to anchor his position. Austin’s defensive awareness is good, and though a bit slow to react, he is a good help defender. Austin does a very good job challenging shots, and when he in position, he is a good shot-blocker. He is very good at going straight up and extending well to block shots and he keeps balls in play for his teammates. In pick-and-roll situations, Austin needs to do a better job hedging on the ballhandler, as he doesn’t have the footwork to stay with the ballhandler if he hedges hard.
Perimeter Defense (On/Off Ball)
Austin is a below average perimeter defender, though his length does provide him some advantages. He positions himself well between his man and the basket, but his lateral movement and reaction to movements need a lot of work. Austin closes well on perimeter shooters, and he does a good job staying grounded for shot fakes, though that may also be because he is slow to react. Off the ball, Austin positions himself well though he will always shade significantly towards the lane. Again, his reaction time needs some improvement, and it is tough for him to contain players, even big men, off the dribble. His defensive awareness is above-average, though much better near the lane than on the perimeter.
Austin uses his length well to get to missed shots on both end of the floor, but his lack of strength leaves him susceptible to getting bodied out of position, even though he does look to box out. Austin does a good job tracking shots and getting into position, and once he boxes his man, he goes strong after the ball. Even if he seems to be out of a play, his long arms allow him to tip and keep balls alive for himself or teammates. Austin does a good job getting to missed shots on the offensive end as well, though his lack of strength often makes it tough for him to get good second shot attempts off the rebound.
Austin doesn’t run the floor particularly well, but he can be a good option on the secondary break, either breaking to the basket or spotting up for a mid- or long-range jumper.
Austin has great length and he moves well for his size, but he lacks the strength needed to be a regular player at the NBA level right now. He has some emerging offensive skill, but he prefers to spend time on the perimeter hoisting jumpers than using his size to score around the basket. Austin has shown a good ability to knock down mid-range jumpers, but he needs to build strength to be able to hit the NBA 3 consistently. Austin’s strength is on the defensive side right now, where he has the potential be a very good rim protector. He blocks and alters shots well, and though his reaction time isn’t great, he still finds ways to get to shots. Again, his lack of strength makes it tough for him to stop many post moves, so he has become reliant on trying to block whatever he can. While not a great rebounder, Austin uses his length well to contribute on the boards. Austin is blind in one eye, though I can’t recall seeing anything he does on the court that would ever make me think that, and I don’t think it will be an issue going forward.
Draft Value: Early 2nd Round – #31-40
Austin’s impact will likely be on the defensive side, and his ability to block shots should have plenty of teams interested in him. There is some skill on the offensive end, but his lack of strength forces him often to the perimeter. Still, being able to knock down some open shots while providing a defensive presence in the lane should earn him some role player minutes.
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