Baylor's Isaiah Austin Falling On Draft Boards

        For a 7'1" center with a pterodactyl-like wingspan and a gift of athleticism, it makes scouts cringe when they see Isaiah Austin, Baylor's freshman center playing like he is. Austin is second on the team in scoring (13.9 points), second in rebounding (8.7) and second ins shots blocked (1.0). But what's surprising is that this center, on almost every night this season, will be the tallest, longest and most athletic player on the floor, and he chooses to play on the perimeter. He is shooting .508 from the field, third on his team amongst those bigs because he spends nearly identical thirds of his game playing in the paint, on the wing and behind the 3-point mark.

        If, per se, coach Scott Drew, could get him to play closer to the rim like Rico Gathers (67 percent of his shot attempts come at the rim), or Cory Jefferson (56 percent), Austin's numbers would skyrocket. Though he is shooting just 37 percent of his shots at the rim, an exceptionally low number, Austin converts at one of the nation's highest rates, 78 percent. As he moves further and further away, his shooting percentage plummets to 38 percent outside the paint and 33 percent behind the 3-point arc. His free-throw rate (free-throw attempts divided by field-goal attempts), is abysmal, worse than nearly every guard on his team.

        If he were to spend more time in the paint, not only would Baylor be a much better, much more difficult team to matchup with (right now, teams treat him as a poorly skilled small forward), Baylor would absolutely be a contender in the Big 12. But Austin would see his scoring and rebounding jump and his NBA Draft stock see a boost as well.

By Staff Writer - 12 -27- 12