Draft review: Austin Daye


Pick: 15

Position: Small forward/ power forward

School: Gonzaga

Height: 6-foot-11

Weight: 192 pounds

Age: 21

Projections and profiles

NBADraft.net (profile): 30

Daye somehow got an invite to the green room which would suggest some team is set to take him in the top 20. However, the rumor was that Detroit would take him, yet most people are convinced they won’t. Daye can shoot it, but he may not see any game action for a few years.

Draft Express (profile): 25

STRENGTHS: Excellent skill-level, Mismatch Potential, Scoring instincts, Timing, Ability to put ball on floor, Excellent hands, Excellent Touch, Finesse, Ability to contest shots, Shot-blocking tools, Potential, Basketball instincts, Ability to finish around basket, Coordination, Size for position, Wingspan, Defensive rebounding, 3-point range, 3-point shooting percentages, Ability to catch and shoot, Ability to shoot off the dribble, Shooting mechanics

WEAKNESSES: Ability to get to free throw line, Inability to establish position in post, Ability to defend position at next level?, Ability to fight through screens, Foul prone, Gets backed down in post, Lateral quickness, Avoids contact, Body language, Maturity, Mental/Physical toughness?, Bad knees?, Ability to finish through contact, Average athleticism, Core strength, Frail frame, Lacks explosiveness, Lower body strength, Strength, Slow release

My NBA Draft (profile): 18

Versatile athletic forward with ideal size once he fills out his frame,6’10" 190lbs. Nice shooting touch with range, he is big enough to post up smaller defenders and quick enough handle to get by bigs. Athleticism allows him to get blocks and steals, but has tendency to get into foul trouble. Has the skills to dominate in college but plays with other talented more experienced players and gets out of the flow of the game and takes bad shots, and shows frustration. Reminiscent of a young Keith Van Horn. A top 5 talent, but needs to show he can stay healthy, and add much needed bulk. He could watch his stock soar if proves to be a dependable threat and zags make a deep tourney run, but could be well suited if he stays another year to add much needed bulk and be the teams primary option.

Sekou Smith for CBS Sports: 14

The Suns need to get younger everywhere and Daye is as talented as anyone still on the board, even if he is likely two or three years away from being a full-time starter. There are just so few shooters his size in any draft. Steve Kerr can’t pass him up.

Fred Kerber for CBS Sports: 20

Slender at 6-10, needs to develop an NBA body. Jazz might have to hurry the learning curve, depending on their free-agency status. A potential mismatch every night if he bulks and toughens.

Fox Sports: 24

The Trail Blazers are very deep and will likely go the "best player available" route, and that’s Daye. Daye’s skill set and 6-foot-10 frame have NBA scouts intrigued but he does lack physical strength. The Blazers can afford to take the plunge since they have the time and talent on hand to let him develop. Anyone could use a frontcourt player that can space the floor. Think: Mehmet Okur.

MLive: 14

Suns could use a backup point guard here, but Daye’s impressive shooting skills and size are too good to pass on.

Indianapolis Star: 18

Can score but will have to add strength to be effective in NBA.

Sporting News: 15

Depending on which player goes to Phoenix — Clark or Daye — the Pistons are a good bet to take the other.

Pistons.com: 23

It’s this kind of draft: Some players who have a chance to go in the lottery could slide all the way to the late first round. Such is the case with Gonzaga’s Austin Daye. Most scouts agree he would have benefited by another year in college, but if he falls this far the Kings will be tempted by his high ceiling and impressive mix of offensive skills.

Average: 20.1

Who I would’ve taken

  1. DeJuan Blair
  2. Ty Lawson
  3. James Johnson


Freshman 18.5 10.5 4.7 1.0 1.6 0.6 1.7 0.475 0.413 0.881
Sophomore 26.3 12.7 6.8 1.1 2.1 0.7 2.1 0.477 0.429 0.706


College recruiting rankings

Rivals: No. 25 overall, five stars

Scout: No. 68 overall, four stars

Reasons to be encouraged


Daye is probably the best shooter in the draft behind Stephen Curry. And he has the height and long arms to shoot over most players.

The Pistons were 27th in 3-point shooting last year, so Daye should help there.


As the Freep Press’s Drew Sharp points out, Daye could go a long way in changing the Pistons’ attitude. Last year’s team had a few too many bad seeds, and by all accounts, Daye won’t be another one.

Basketball I.Q.

From 48 Minutes of Hell’s Graydon Gordian, who talked to Daye at the combine:

As Tim said, Austin Daye comes across as bright. He is acutely aware of his build (or lack thereof) and seems focused on getting stronger. He also said that, given his current size, his “process is slower than some.” He recognizes that he might not be as immediately productive as players with an NBA-ready body. But of all the players I met, I felt he had one of the more fully developed conceptions of his own game.

In Arnie I trust

From Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:

Dumars consulted with strength and conditioning coach Arnie Kander before selecting Daye.

"We met several times on Daye, just about his body and his ability to get stronger at that size," Dumars said. "If Arnie looks at me and says, ‘I don’t think I can put weight on this or get him stronger,’ I don’t know if I back away, but it would have given me more pause."

Clearly, Kander sees an NBA body lurking within Daye.

"Remember, he’s younger than Tay was and it’s really just a matter of taking care of his body," Curry said. "He will get stronger as he gets older. It’s not a matter of putting a certain number of pounds, it’s just about continuing to get his core stronger, get a routine and he should be fine."

Kander is the best in the business, so I trust Daye can add wait. But I’m not sure if Kander can project how added weight will affect Daye’s play.

Reasons to be discouraged


Fifty players players worked out at the NBA combine. Here’s how Daye ranked in a few categories:

  • No-step vertical: 49th
  • Max vertical: Tie for 49th
  • Bench Press: 49th (Of 49 because Sam Young didn’t lift)
  • Agility: 49th
  • Sprint: 50th

So, he’s slow, weak and can’t jump. He was so bad Ryan Feldman of The Hoops Report suspected Daye was dogging it.

Think about it. How many solid first round, maybe even lottery, prospects have ever been the worst or second worst in every single test? It’s one thing if he was only the weakest or only the slowest or only the least athletic, but all three?

We’re not talking about an out of shape big man here. We’re talking about Austin Daye.

Can a wing player who is the slowest, weakest, most unathletic player in the entire Draft class be a lottery pick? Apparently, it might be possible.

The question really isn’t whether or not a player like that could be a lottery pick. It’s whether or not the player in question is really what he made himself out to be last week in Chicago.

Daye couldn’t even lift the 185-pound bar once. (On the bright side, neither could Kevin Durant).

Feldman raises the idea a team convinced Daye to not go his fullest with the promise it would take him. But I doubt it was Detroit, considering the 15th pick is relatively low to take a chance like that.

So, one of two things happened – neither of which excites me.

1. Daye thought he had a promise and took it easy at the Combine. This suggests he’s not as smart as he gets credit for.

2. And this possibility is much more troubling – he’s the most unathletic first-round pick ever.


Sure, Dumars claimed Daye looked good in workouts against stronger players. But he has an incentive to say that. Here’s what a neutral observer told Draft Express:

Austin Daye vs. Omri Casspi turned into a real wrestling match. Casspi just manhandled Daye, really threw him around. It was a bit disappointing to see how little Daye was able to compete from a strength perspective—Casspi is a kind of a skinny guy himself. At one point Casspi cut Daye’s lip open–he had to go to hospital for stitches. The Nets should have done a better job of getting someone to call fouls. Casspi was fouling the hell out of Daye. Some of the guys were looking at each other like ‘what are we watching here?’


Here’s how bad news gets worse quickly:

Daye never made his all-conference team.

Gonzaga plays in the West Coast Conference, the 15th-ranked conference in the nation.

The WCC selects a whopping 10 players to its all-conference team.

Free throws

I have no idea what to make of this, but the biggest difference in Daye’s stats between his freshman and sophomore seasons came at the free-throw line. His percentage dropped 17 percent – from 88 percent to 71 percent.

Is that anything to read into?


Daye battled colds throughout his freshman year, according to a 2008 report in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The Irvine, Calif., native attributed it to the weather in Spokane, Wash.

How will Detroit’s harsh winters affect him?


He’s unathletic, wasn’t that good in college and isn’t very tough. How’s does that make him a pick in the top half of the first round, even in a weak draft?

But at least he’s not B.J. Mullens.



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