NBA Draft

Scouting Report

Austin enters the draft as one of its more inspirational stories but remains somewhat of a wild card because of it. The Baylor sophomore is an athletic 7-footer with a wingspan of 7 feet, 4 1/2 inches, but he is legally blind in his right eye after suffering a torn retina in middle school and has at times struggled with it on the court. NBA teams, however, have been aware of his vision problem for some time and it hasn't seemed to hurt his prospects. The bigger issue is his thin frame and preference for playing on the perimeter, something that could turn off teams in the market for a durable center. Thanks to his length, he was at one time assumed to be a one-and-done in Waco, but he returned for a second season to try to improve his game and draft stock. Considering his rebounds per game dropped from an already disappointing 8.3 to 5.5 and his scoring average dipped from 13.0 to 11.2, he didn't do much to change any opinions. The one thing he did improve was his help defense and shot-blocking, going from 1.7 per game as a freshman to 3.1 last season. If Austin wishes to continue playing the type of game he showcased with the Bears, he'll need to improve his mid-range jumper and develop a stop-and-pop. If he wants to round out his skill set beyond that, he will need to gain weight and add strength to keep pace with the NBA's big men. All things considered, though, he has good touch with both hands in the blocks and solid ball-handling skills for his size, at times playing like a forward. Austin will likely be selected early in the second round.

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