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Isaiah Austin could be another name you start hearing more about in the coming mock drafts. He's a 19 year old 7'1" freshman center who is a skilled big man with tremendous potential, and helped his Baylor Bears win the NIT championship against Iowa with a full stat sheet that included 14 points, 9 rebounds, 5 blocks, 4 assists, and 2 steals.

Although Austin has so far been slated as a mid to late first round pick by most, his play in the NIT championship could boost his stock, along with the fact that bigs always rise just before the draft anyway. So who is Austin and what could he bring to a team like the Suns?

Stats:

Measurables:

  • Height: 7"1" (7'0" without shoes)
  • Weight: 220 lbs (when soaking wet)
  • Wingspan: 7'3"
  • Standing Reach: 9'3"

Strengths:

  • Tremendously skilled for a big man, very good ball handler and good court awareness
  • Can stretch the floor with mid-range and long range shooting out to the three point line
  • Good athlete
  • Blocks shots (Shows potential to improve as well)
  • Has decent moves to create shot and score

  • Decent rebounder

Weaknesses:

  • Very thin, will need to add substantial size in the NBA to play in the post
  • Plays passive at times
  • Inconsistent and has a tendency to disappear
  • Not a strong or aggressive player, a small forward in a center's body

My Take:

Isaiah Austin is an interesting prospect with loads of potential, but who so far has yet to show he can play at a high level on a consistent basis. Yes, he helped propel Baylor to a victory over Iowa in the NIT championship and filled up the stat sheet in doing so, but he has had his fair share of bad games lately as well. Against Providence in the second round of the tournament, Austin shot just 1-7 from the field and grabbed only two rebounds. He also has a terrible game against Oklahoma St. in the Big 12 championship where he went 0-6 from the field and scored only two points. As you can see, consistency is a very real issue.

Austin reminds me a lot of Perry Jones III, and not just because they both played for Baylor. They were both big men with games more suited for the small forward position, and were both very skilled offensively. The difference is, Perry Jones was much further along in his development when he was drafted after his sophomore year. Austin could really use another year of college to develop and prove that he belongs at the next level.

The problem is, if Austin decides to declare for the draft, and there's talk he might, NBA teams won't have the luxury of waiting and watching how he does next year, they'll have to gamble on his potential vs. his risks now. If he does enter the draft, he certainly won't be in the discussion with the Suns' first pick, but if they end up with the 14th pick from the Lakers, he may be considered.

Personally, I would pass on Austin with the 14th pick. There will still be plenty of other players with just as much potential (if not more) and who are already more proven as well. However, this changes if he slides to the end of the first round and the Suns end up with Miami's pick. In a draft short on quality big men I very much doubt this happens, but if it does, he suddenly becomes a much more attractive option.

    Poll
    Would you want the Suns to draft Isaiah Austin with their second pick in the first round of the draft?

      132 votes | Results

    PHOENIX – Where the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors began this season and where the teams stand now couldn’t have created a bigger fork in the road. Stephen Curry missed two late free...

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    Back in 2008 during the NBA Draft process a lot of pundits fell in love with the talent of Michael Beasley and dubbed him as the next Carmelo Anthony. Against the Dub's, Beasley flashed that ability again.

    He came out on fire nailing 9-12 shots in the first half with 21 points including a half-court three at the buzzer pacing the Suns 64 point first half and fueling what became a 15 point lead. The Suns were on cruise control.

    The problem was, they were on cruise control. As quickly as they took that impressive lead they gave it back with a 14 point third quarter. Goran Dragic and Beasley were the Suns offense scoring 44 of the teams 87 points through three quarters, but they could not get any help.

    After halftime the Suns came out flat defensively and the Warriors took advantage going 7-10 from three in the second half, lighting the Suns up.

    What was most alarming in the 111-107 loss was the fact that the Suns shot 38 times in the first half, Dragic and Beasley combined to take 19 of them for 40 points and a lead. In the second half the team took 34 shots, Dragic and Beasley combined for 10 shots and a four point loss.

    Dragic finished the night by matching his career-high of 32 points.

    Losing eight games in a row is a brutal feat for the Suns, even more so when you look at the rest of the league.

    Only the Charlotte Bobcats (18 and 10), Orlando Magic (12, 10, and 8), Detroit Pistons (10 and 8), Washington Wizards (12 and 8), Cleveland Cavaliers (10), and the New Orleans Hornets (11) have lost eight or more games this season.

    The Suns entered that elite company with tonight's loss to the Warriors.

    Going forward the Suns schedule does not get any easier outside of the Hornets this Sunday, the team hits the road for three straight that could cement this team in the annals of franchise history.

    Time: 7 p.m. MST TV: FSA The longest losing streak of the season is on deck for the Suns. Phoenix has lost seven in a row, and playing host Friday night to the Golden State Warriors, it will need...

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    162225338

    Coming into this game the Phoenix Suns (23-52) are a team desperate to end their losing ways. The Golden State Warriors (43-22) come in entrenched in a playoff race and each appear to be obstacles for one another, respectively.

    Losing tonight would put the Suns into unique company with Orlando (12, 10, and 8), Charlotte (18 and 10), Washington (12 and 8), Detroit (10 and 8), Cleveland (10), and New Orleans (11) as teams with 8+ game losing streaks. A loss to the divisional rival Warriors would match the longest losing streak in nine years for the franchise.

    The Warriors present unique challenges for a Suns team that has allowed 100+ points in 11 of the last 13 games overall.

    Gaining a defensive identity takes a lot more work, effort, and tweaking than the changing of a head coach and saying words in front of a camera. The Suns are learning that in real time as they have struggled to get stops consistently leading to the current streak they are mired in.

    The Warriors have gotten things back on track after losing four in a row winning eight of their past eleven games as they are getting healthy for the playoffs.

    (Recent) History Lesson

    Suns 0-3

    Aside from the classic that was the season opener, the Warriors have owned the Suns this year beating them all three times, and the last two games by 10+ each. In the two games in Golden State, Steph Curry connected on eight deep balls controlling the pace.

    Head-to-Head (past four seasons including Playoffs)

    Suns: 107.4 PPG (8 wins)

    Warriors: 103.7 PPG (6 wins)

    This has been a fluid rivalry that has flowed one way and now is flowing back down stream on the Suns. Discounting the past two seasons the Suns were 7-1 against the Warriors and the past two seasons they are 1-5 against the younger, more skilled, and improved Warriors team.

    Head-to-Head (career)

    Curry vs. Suns: 14.1 PPG 5.1 APG 40.0 3PT% (14 games)

    Dragic vs. Warriors: 11.1 PPG 4.5 APG 48.2 FG% (15 games)

    Typically the Suns hold Curry in check, but this season he has had two of his three better performances against their divisional rivals. Also, typically, Dragic does not start against the Warriors, but when he has Dragic puts up very good numbers to the tune of 17.0 points per game and 8.2 assists per game.

    Starting Line-Ups

    PG - Goran Dragic vs. Stephen Curry

    SG - Wesley Johnson vs. Klay Thompson

    SF - P.J. Tucker vs. Harrison Barnes

    PF - Markieff Morris vs. David Lee

    C - Luis Scola vs. Andrew Bogut

    Potential Suns Inactives: Marcin Gortat (sprained right foot)

    Potential Warriors Inactives: Brandon Rush (left knee surgery)

    Key Match-Up

    Wesley Johnson vs. Klay Thompson

    This season the Warriors are 17-7 when the second year wing scores 20+ points. They are 7-1 when he scores 25+ points in a game this season showing the value of having him as a secondary scorer next to Curry.

    Over the last 11 games Johnson has collected 14 steals while scoring 14.2 points per game becoming a dual threat on the court. It is not inspiring winning basketball, but his ability to make Thompson work on both ends of the court could be the difference in an eighth straight loss or a halt to the losing streak.

    Interesting Stat: Top 10/Top 20

    The Warriors are one of only five teams (Miami, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, and LA Clippers) that are in the Top 10 in scoring and the Top 20 in defensive points against.

    Meaningless Stat: Bottom 10

    The Suns are one of three teams (Orlando and Charlotte) that are in the Bottom 10 in scoring and in the Bottom 10 in defensive points against. There is that.

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