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Piston of the Week: Austin Daye

Piston of the Week (12/30/2012 – 1/5/2013): Austin Daye

12 points and four rebounds per game, 69.5 field-goal percentage, 5-for-9 on 3-pointers, .795 (!) true shooting percentage

Remember when fans were clamoring for Austin Daye to play more minutes as a rookie a few years ago? After they saw he wasn’t ready, they buried him. And then, he came back and made a few big shots and people loved him.

Then last year, after he hit what appeared to be rock bottom, it looked to be the end of the road for Daye in Detroit — maybe in the NBA.

What a ride it’s been.

Since pulling a Will Bynum (or maybe we can even call it a Charlie Villanueva?) and emerging from the shadows of Lawrence Frank’s ire, Daye has thrived in his role as a shooter and surprise rebounder in the Pistons’ bench mob.

Is Daye really back, though? Well, in 41 games last year, he shot 21 percent (13-62) from 3-point range. Through 13 games this year, he’s shooting 63 percent (15-24) and has already exceeded last year’s totals.

On paper, the highlight of Daye’s week may have been his 20-point (on 9-for-11 shooting) and six-rebound effort against the Hawks on Friday. But after being in attendance at Tuesday’s game against the Kings, Daye might have been better after he nailed the game clinching 3-pointer.

The foursome of Daye, Bynum, Villanueva and rapidly improving Andre Drummond controlled the Kings after coming in early in the second quarter. When Drummond has space down low and Bynum has the option to either drop the ball off to him near the basket or throw it back out to Daye or Villanueva outside the 3-point line, that second unit thrives.

That’s been the case in the Pistons’ four-game winning streak and a big part of that has been Daye’s reemergence.

Daye went through an array of personal battles last season — including his mother dealing with multiple sclerosis — but the biggest thing for Daye this year may very well be as simple as confidence.

He doesn’t bring a ton of positives to the court when his shot isn’t falling, but once that shot is falling, you see the rebounding and the real utilization of his length on defense.

It’s good to see Daye playing at a high level. Not only is he helping the Pistons right now, but also if they do choose to make a move at the trade deadline, he’s only improving his stock.

Past Winners



  • Jan 6, 20137:06 pm
    by frankie d


    this pistons’ fan will always believe that the pistons wasted a year of this guy’s career.
    the shooting slumps he went through were no worse than the slumps that guys like stuckey and singler have gone through.  and his play was no worse than what knight has gone through at times.
    but the team stuck with those guys while daye got buried on the bench.
    he’s always been capable of doing positive things on the court and a better coach would have found a way to get more out of him.
    all he’s ever lacked here was confidence and a coach has to know how to instill that in a young player.
    and the fact that they gave priority to giving damien wilkins playing time over daye is the sickest joke of all.
    damien wilkins?
    damien wilkins? 
    the pistons’ problems can be easily distilled to the way they handled whether they were going to work with and develop a talented guy like daye or play an end-of-the-line retread like wilkins.
    we know what choice they made. 

    • Jan 6, 20137:30 pm
      by tarsier


      When has any of those Pistons shot 13-62 from deep or 73-227 overall while contributing absolutely nothing else over more than 600 minutes?

      I’m glad for Daye’s play this season, but last year, Daye had one of the worst seasons by any player of all time!! He was historically awful.

      • Jan 6, 20137:58 pm
        by Frankie d


        My problem has always been that you don’t bury a young player who is going through a slump.  That is exactly what frank did to daye last year.  daye started the season in a shooting slump and then got pulled from the regular rotation.  He got one more real shot just mid season, had some good games, including a career game against Miami, but had several mediocre to bad games and from that point forward he was out of the rotation.
        was his slump last year any worse than the one stuckey went through at the beginning of this year?Was his slump any worse than the one singler just went through Over the course of a dozen games?(daye never got anywhere near that kind of license or patience.
        singler wasn’t shooting, he wasn’t scoring and he was getting torched on defense by guards who were just walking around him.
        so exactly what was he bringing to the court?
        yet, he got sent out there every game.
        daye has always put up decent rebounding numbers. Even when he was not scoring.  It is simply not true that he was not contributing anything except for shooting.
        i have simply thought he deserved a chanc to fail or thrive based on a real chance, not a ridiculously short leash no other first rounder ever got around here in the last 5 years or so.

        • Jan 6, 20138:13 pm
          by tarsier


          “was his slump last year any worse than the one stuckey went through at the beginning of this year?Was his slump any worse than the one singler just went through Over the course of a dozen games?”

          Yes,it was!! That was the entire point of my comment. Daye last year was in no mere slump. He was historically awful. Rarely has any player ever performed at such a low level.

          Besides, I don’t know of any other time a couple hundred shots have been referred to as a shooting slump. A slump is usually a couple dozen at most.

          • Jan 6, 20139:03 pm
            by frankie d

            i think you are missing my essential point.
            daye started the season off with a couple of 0-for games, then he had a decent game, then another stretch of 8 games that were bad to horrendous.  a very tough dozen or so games at the beginning of the year.  not much different than what stuckey went through.  and it is definitely almost identical to what singler just went through just recently.
            but the coach’s response was not to work with daye to try to get him out of the slump, but he instead buried him.
            contrast that with how he handled singler recently.  
            singler stayed in the line up.  he stayed in the rotation.  and slowly he is getting back to his normal level of play and shooting.
            my argument has been that the coach’s action made much worse what could have been a normal, though deep, shooting slump. 
            instead of it being the kind of slump any shooter goes through, albeit a bit deeper, but still normal, it became a season-long trauma because of the coach’s unwillingness to let him work through that slump.
            and, yes, it became a horrible season long – you are right, it was not a slump and i was not referring to the entire season as a slump – trauma.
            a different coach, a better coach, would have done some things to put him in a position to succeed and get out of the slump.
            frank, by contrast, jerked him around, making worse what could have been a mild incident in his career.  
            i’ve always thought that shooters don’t forget how to shoot.  they just don’t.  it is usually the last skill to leave an nba player, if they are a good shooter. 
            but if a player goes through a weird, career-threatening period – and especially a young player – then a skill they have relied on their entire lives can go south on them.
            and the one thing daye has always, always been able to do is shoot the basketball. 

          • Jan 6, 20139:07 pm
            by tarsier

            But you see, Singler and Stuckey had slumps in which they played poorly. Daye played historically horrendously.

            Number of games-wise, it may be similar. But when you are a player who has never been even 7th to 8th man caliber in the past, that’s its own matter.

          • Jan 6, 20139:30 pm
            by frankie d

            what has singler ever done to merit the coach letting him play through and past his slump?
            he’s a rookie.
            daye had a decent rookie year and a year where he shot almost 41% from 3 point range on 172 shots.
            that is certainly more than what singler had ever done in the nba.
            yet, singler gets treated totally differently.  instead of getting buried, he’s still going out there every day.
            now, i think that the way that singler is being treated is the correct course.
            i just don’t see how the organization could have let their first rounder be treated that way. 

    • Jan 6, 20137:35 pm
      by gmehl


      Hopefully Daye isn’t damaged to the point of no return and we can extend him on a cheap deal. He is playing for his basketball life right now so hopefully for him he succeeds cause it would be a shame to see him fail.

    • Jan 6, 20137:41 pm
      by Chris N


      From the accounts that I’ve read, it didn’t sound like Daye was ready to play last year physically.  Were last season like this one, yeah, I’d agree with you-put him out on the court and let him figure it out.


      Last season wasn’t like this one.  Last season was the most grueling season since, well, the last lockout.  Back-to-back games were the norm and even a couple of back-to-back-to-back games appeared on the schedule.

      On top of that, its a new coach, new system and precious few moments of practice time.

      I’m not saying that he should have been glued to the bench all season long, but I definitely understand why he was.  From the accounts that I’ve read, neither he or Villanueva were ready to play last season and with the schedule as compacted as it was, getting behind pretty much meant staying behind.

      As for a better coach finding a way to get more out of him, that’s possible (though I think its just as likely that a better coach would have left him out of the rotation and left him there just as Frank did.)

  • Jan 6, 20137:08 pm
    by gmehl


    The thing that has impressed me just as much or even more than his shooting has been his rebounding and defense. There is going to come a time when his shot goes cold so as long as he is doing other things then it wont effect his confidence as bad. CV has also been rebounding and play ok defense as well. Who would of thought!

    • Jan 6, 20137:19 pm
      by frankie d


      if you checked the advanced stat numbers on his rebounding you’d see that he’s been one of the team’s best rebounders since he’s been on the team.   even last year he had better per 36 rebounding numbers and rebounding percentage numbers than tay.  and his numbers have always been solid or very good in his 4 years on the team.  better than some of the supposed big guys like maxiell.  same with his block percentages over his career with the team.

  • Jan 6, 20138:37 pm
    by Stuckey and Whoever


    Great day to add Tay to my fantasy league.  But seriously we should be killing these guys.  D is horrible!!!

  • Jan 6, 201311:10 pm
    by Mrshourite


    Disappointing loss! 

  • Jan 7, 20139:45 am
    by Big Rick


    We need a PG!!!

  • Jan 7, 20139:47 am
    by D. Stewart


    Hard to understand.  Daye comes off of his best game of the season and Frank only plays him 11 minutes against the Bobcats.  He takes one shot and that’s it.  Nice job of rewarding the kid, Coach.  Nice job of boosting his confidence by building on the momentum he had going.  I swear, I’ll never understand coaches.  Frank needs a hot outside shooter in last night’s game and Daye’s the hotest shooter on the planet right now, and yet 11 minutes is all he gives the kid.  11 minutes for the whole damn game.  Don’t be surprised if Daye’s confidence slips right back into the crapper again.  Sometimes I think Frank graduated from the Michael Curry School of Coaching.     

    • Jan 7, 201312:19 pm
      by Frankie d


      That is exactly problem I have been talking about.  frank doesn’t seem to have a clue about handling daye.  Or he just doesn’t seem to care, which is curious considering that daye provides a needed skill: 3point shooting.

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