Austin's intrigue as a prospect has long hinged on his extremely rare physical attributes. Measuring 7'1 with a 7'3 wingspan at age 16 in 2010, the Texas native has outstanding size for a center at any level to go along with impressive mobility. In contrast, he weighed in at just 200 pounds when those measurements were taken, and while he was listed at 225 this season and has gotten noticeably stronger in his upper body in recent seasons, he remains extremely skinny for a big man at the professional level. As of right now, Austin's offensive game largely revolves around the small and occasional flashes he shows, as he's not a particularly efficient or reliable at this point in time, but shows intriguing potential in a number of areas.
After averaging 16.7 points per-40 minutes pace adjusted on 45.9% from the field a year ago, he averaged 16.4 on 44.3% as a sophomore, and didn't make significant strides on this end of the floor. Possessing soft touch inside and the ability to score away from the rim, Austin has a unique offensive skill set for a 7-footer, but struggles at times to finish plays around the basket due to his lack of explosiveness and toughness, and forces some difficult, awkward shots from the inside and outside alike—part of the reason he was the least efficient center among all prospects in the DraftExpress Top-100 rankings. Inside, he'll show deft touch and a high release point on hook shots with either hand at times, but lacks to lower body strength to establish good post position consistently. While he isn't what you'd describe as a freakish athlete, he's mobile and smooth enough to put the ball on the floor a bit from the midrange, and will even knock down a pull-up jump shot from time to time. Shooting a very solid 45% with his back to the basket according to Synergy Sports Technology, Austin has a promising finesse game on the block, but converting at a 53% clip around the rim, he doesn't deal with contact well and tends to take some difficult, off balance shots from the paint.
Away from the rim, Austin's unique skill level gives him interesting potential as a pick-and-pop option. Almost a quarter or his shots in the half court last season were jump shots, off which he made just 32%. Though his consistency leaves something to be desired, he shoots the ball with solid mechanics from the perimeter and seems to have the potential to draw opposing big men away from the rim at the next level, which could become an important part of his offensive profile at the next level. How about you? What do you think? Does this guy have the goods to be a top pick in the NBA Draft?
Catch more great highlight videos from +DraftExpress along with interviews as well scouting reports of future +NBA stars right here on +Slap Dog Hoops. Also, please be kind enough to share this post by simply clicking the Facebook, Twitter, G+, and Pinterest buttons below. It would be greatly appreciated; Thanks!