NBA AM: Time For The Pistons To Move Daye?
Just Not A Good Fit: When Austin Daye opted to leave Gonzaga after just one year many in the NBA thought the 6’11 Daye was making a mistake. The belief was that his game wasn’t nearly polished enough for the NBA and that he needed to add weight and toughness to be successful in the NBA.
In 2009 the Detroit Pistons drafted Daye with the 15th overall pick, knowing full well he was a bit of project that needed a year or two of development work. The Pistons hoped that he could be an eventual replacement for Tayshaun Prince who was approaching the end of his contract.
To say things have not worked out as Austin had hoped is an understatement.
“I wouldn’t even say I have one,” Daye told HOOPSWORLD of his role in the NBA. “I’m honest with myself. I haven’t played enough to say I have a legit role on this team yet. I’ve played the games; I’ve been hurt a lot this season with my ankles but besides that it’s just been tough for me to get consistent minutes. That’s the answer in itself, I guess.”
Daye opted to play in Russia for BC Khimki during the NBA lockout and says that was not a good decision for his development, as he struggled to keep what limited weight he had on while eating new foods and living in the different culture.
The trek to Russia set him back when training camp opened for the Pistons and Daye has been unable to find a groove since.
Daye has struggled to make an impact for the Pistons but says the team tells him they are still committed to him and told him prior to the trade deadline they were not going to be trading him.
“They did enough by their actions,” explained Daye. “Saying that they wouldn’t trade me before the deadline or after the deadline. I guess that’s enough confidence within myself that they want me here. I just have to keep working and try to get better and just try to please as many people in their seats as I can.”
The Pistons decision to re-sign Tayshaun Prince this year was a surprise, especially for Daye, as it was assumed he’d get a shot at Prince’s role; however, with Prince back for at least the next three years Daye doesn’t have much shot at meaningful floor time.
“It’s not really an excuse not to play well,” explained Daye. “I didn’t play well in the beginning of the season, and then I started to get comfortable. I was playing well but then I kind of lost myself out of the rotation. He’s back, he’s here and there’s nothing I can do about that. It’s not my job to be dwelling on him. It’s just a fact that I’m going to be playing with him so I have to figure out a way I can play and play with him when he’s here.”
With the Piston’s season coming to an end, Daye looks to have one more offseason to impress upon the Pistons that he is worth keeping, but he is not sold Summer League is where he’ll need to do that.
“I don’t think summer league has made a big difference,” said Daye. “I’ve handled myself pretty well in summer league. Summer league isn’t the NBA, I mean it is; it’s for guys who come in and aren’t adjusted to the speed and stuff like that. I think I’ve adjusted to it. I think that summer league is going to help certain people but I don’t know if it’s really going to help me because I’ve played really well and it hasn’t really got me minutes in the league.”
“I still feel like I’m a good player,” said Daye. “I feel like in the right opportunity and the right place I’m going to play well. I’ve had good spurts this year against Miami and Atlanta and in games where I’ve played extended minutes I’ve played well. Whenever I get minutes and the coach is behind me I’ve been playing well… my confidence hasn’t changed.”
“I was starting last year and then I was coming off the bench and I had a legit role,” explained Daye. “At the end of games I was always in the game last year to help the team win but I’m not even touching the floor right now so it’s tough. Mentally it’s hard to stay positive but you always have to keep a positive attitude or you’re going to lose yourself.”
For Austin something has to give this summer, either the Pistons commit to giving him a chance or they commit to trading him somewhere else, at least that’s how Daye sees the situation.
“Just be in the right situation where I can get some minutes,” said Daye. “I don’t want to see anybody go down or anything like that but people have been hurt so I’ve been able to play some games. Besides that, when the roster is full there’s not a lot of minutes to be had, it’s really a numbers game. For myself, I just have to figure out a way that I can get out on the floor. We have [nine] games left so I’m just looking forward to getting some momentum going into the offseason and just taking care of business in the offseason.”
On the season Austin is .324 from the field .207 from the three-point line and .886 from the free throw line. Daye is averaging 4.9 points per game and has a PER of 7.31 which ranks him 327th in the NBA out of a possible 344 ranked players.
If Daye can’t find minutes soon, returning to Russia might be his only recourse, which is why something needs to break.
Daye has one more season left on his contract worth $2.9 million.
More Of That, Please: In a typical NBA season the end of the regular season would be approaching quickly, so it’s no surprise that the LA Lakers seem to be kicking it into another gear as of late winning two straight and seven of their last ten games.
Last night’s win over the red hot San Antonio Spurs – winners of 14 of their last 17 games – showcased exactly how good the Lakers could be when things are clicking.
Kobe Bryant sat out last night’s game due to tenosynovitis on his left shin – nasty swelling for the lay person.
Metta World Peace, formerly Ron Artest, showed up in a huge way leading the team in scoring with 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting. Pau Gasol kicked in 21 points to go with his 11 rebounds, but the night was capped by a herculean effort from Andrew Bynum who grabbed 30 rebounds to go with his 16 points.
“It’s great to have 30 boards, but my shot’s not working and I’m (a) little upset about that,” said Bynum to the Associated Press. “For me, I’ll remember shooting poorly.”
“They had some airballs that fell right to me,” Bynum said. “So I just had my hands ready.”
Bynum is the fifth player in Laker history to grab 30 rebounds. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar grabbed more than 30 boards in a game in 1978, making it 34 years between 30 board games.
In all the Lakers had six players score in double figures. If the Lakers can get even close to this production when Kobe Bryant returns, the Lakers could be a lot scarier than their record might indicate.
The First Day At Portsmouth: The Portsmouth Invitational Tournament got under way yesterday and while the higher profile seniors opted to skip the chance to showcase their games in a five-on-five setting for NBA scouts and executives, a couple of guys logged big games on the NBA drafts first bigger stage.
Tennessee Tech’s Kevin Murphy logged the best line of the night scoring a tournament high 27 points on 11-for-14 shooting while grabbing 6 rebounds. The 6-6 guard averaged 20.63 points per game this year for Tech on 44.4% shooting from the field and a scorching 41.6% from the three point line.
South Florida’s Augustus Gilchrist logged a double-double grabbing 12 rebounds to go with his 12 points and 2 blocks. Gilchrist averaged 9.5 points and 5.0 rebounds for the Bulls this season and is a 6-10 240 pound center.
New Mexico State’s Wendell McKines also logged a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. The 6’6 forward from NMSU averaged 18.8 points per game this season to go with 10.8 rebounds.
Kyle O’Quinn followed up his NCAA tournament showcase with a nice opening night at Portsmouth with 18 points and 12 rebounds. The 6’10 O’Quinn was the leading scorer for Norfolk State this season averaging 15.9 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.
There are three games on tap in the tournament today, so we will keep you posted.
The PIT typically catapults at least two players into the draft discussion each year so keep an eye on the PIT as NBA teams do take this tournament seriously.
More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to insure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @AlexKennedyNBA, @jfleminghoops, @TheRocketGuy, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @alexraskinNYC, @SusanBible, @DPageHoopsWorld , @stephenlitel , @stevesraptors, @TommyBeer and @YannisHW.
NBA Chats: There are three NBA chats today starting with my weekly NBA Rumors Chat at 10:30am EST. Get your questions in now as the chats do fill up fast. Senior NBA writer Joel Brigham will host his weekly NBA Chat at 1:30pm EST. Joel covers the Central Division for HOOPSWORLD. Mark Nugent will round out the day with his weekly NBA Chat at 6pm EST. You can always find the next chat here: Upcoming NBA Chats. If you are looking for a completed chat, check the Chat Archive.