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Who Will Replace Kevin Durant's Scoring?

That was the million dollar question, right? And the lead to every single article written about Texas this preseason.

Your early answer:

Everybody's picked up the slack so far, with some nice early scoring from Alexis "Wingman" Wangmene. (Hat Tip to Caradoc for the appropriate nickname for our long-armed freshman.)

We're only five games in, so we don't want to read too much into such a small sample size, but there's no denying that the early returns are Best Case Scenario. Are they sustainable? Let's go player by player:

AJ Abrams Is Abrams a 23 points per game player? Considering his inability to create his own shot (or draw fouls doing so), I don't think so. That incredibly quick release is something to behold, and Lord knows he's as good a three point shooter as I've ever seen at Texas, but he's shooting at an unsustainable pace right now - both in terms of open looks and percentage of shots made. With improved all-around game and the quick release, I think 18 points per game is doable.

DJ Augustin No fluke here. In fact, Augustin's scoring average may go up as the season goes on. Unlike Abrams, DJ has the ability to get himself a look almost any time he wants it. Those running floaters he's hitting are Steve Nashesque. And I suppose it's worth saying that if AJ Abrams does score 23 a game? It'll be because of what Augustin can do to break down a defense with his penetration.

Connor Atchley Texas is going to be in great shape if Atchley's averaging double-digit points per game. So far he's hit 7 of his 10 three point attempts, and while he's not going to shoot 70% on the year, he has a solid stroke if he's selective about when he pulls the trigger. More than that, though, Atchley's doing a great job of putting himself in good position to take advantage of forwards wandering to help stop Augustin penetration. Like TJ Ford's beneficiaries before him, Atchley can cash that into 10+ points per game as well.

Justin Mason About what I'd expect from Mason so far. He's not found his jump shot yet, but is always around loose balls and unafraid to get to the rim. If he can find his stroke? 12-15 points per game is well within reach.

Damion James His rebounding is as important as anything else, but the development of his offensive game is a huge boost to this post-Durant team. He's going to have games where he scores 20+, but others where he's relatively uninvolved in the scoring. Seems right on average to me.

Alexis Wangmene With those arms, he's going to be a factor near the rim. He's more a defense-rebound guy for now, but chipping in 5 points per game seems doable.


It's looking pretty darn good right now, thanks to Augustin's leap forward as a point guard. And lest we forget, this analysis does not include potential contributions from Gary Johnson, who could be a double-double guy by the time conference play rolls around.

Do I wish Kevin Durant were still here? Of course. Am I already in love with this year's team? No question about it. We're as exciting as last year, with Augustin the new superhero. No joke.