Mar 23, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; Baylor Bears center Isaiah Austin (21) defends against Creighton Bluejays forward Doug McDermott (3) in the second half of a men

NBA Draft 2014: Isaiah Austin must add strength, be face-up threat


Strengths

Austin is a legitimate 7-footer with ridiculous length and reach. He seems to have decent explosiveness, athleticism and lateral quickness, but severely lacks in the strength department. The former Baylor center has a jumpshot with good mechanics but is not consistent. He’ll have to improve in that area if he wants to be a potent offensive threat at the next level.

“I’m really kind of a face-up player, that’s what I call myself,” Austin said when he visited Phoenix for a workout. “I’m trying to develop all aspects of my game.

“Using my length. Being able to affect shots. I know I’ll be able to be a great ball-screen defender because I can move my feet really well,” the Baylor product added.

Weaknesses

While the 220-pounder has an array of footwork on the offensive end and great timing on defense, he could be dominated at the next level by stronger players on both ends of the court. Outside of his impressive improvement in protecting the paint, Austin’s statistics saw a drop-off from his freshman to sophomore seasons. A lot of his production could be attributed to his lack of strength.

X-factor

Austin does have a lot of the physical tools needed at the next level but seems to lack a couple mental ones. He needs to finish better around the rim and needs to develop a pick-and-pop game if he hopes to be a scoring threat in the NBA.

“It’s hard to find 7-footers,” said McDonough. “If you look around the NBA, there’s a reason those guys generally get paid if they’re pretty good. Especially 7-foot guys with skill. Isaiah at 7-foot-1 has got a really nice stroke at that size. He’s got really good ball skills on the perimeter. That was one of the things that stood out today, is just how he can handle the ball and make plays off the dribble that most 7-foot-1 guys can’t make. I think he’ll need to keep adding weight and getting stronger to be able to play in the post and handle the physicality of the NBA game. He has a lot of natural ability and things you can’t teach.”

How he would fit on the Suns

Isaiah Austin is projected to go in the late first round or early second round. The Phoenix Suns could probably nab him at 27 overall if they so desired.

If the Suns don’t trade the late first round pick and instead decide to select Austin, that is a sign either Miles Plumlee or Channing Frye could be in their final days — Plumlee via trade and Frye by opting out. Austin might be immediately have the ball skills to play power forward, so how Phoenix views the Morris twins could all come into play. The front line depth obviously also depends on Alex Len’s development, as well.

Tags: 2014 NBA Draft