Many in the comments have assumed that Austin Daye‘s disappearance from the rotation has solely been because he’s struggling with his shot. Terry Foster of The Detroit News reports that Daye’s ankle has also been a reason why his minutes have dwindled:
Daye, however, is hobbled by a right ankle that is black and blue and has played a role in diminished playing time. He wants to play anyway because he wants to show his coach he is a better player than he’s shown. He wants to help a slumping team that is tumbling through a dismal 3-12 season heading into tonight’s game at The Palace against Memphis and Saturday’s contest with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Daye can’t find playing time because his ankle is sore. His game is damaged, too. Daye is averaging career lows in points (2.5 points per game) and rebounds (1.8). He is shooting 20.4 percent from the field and has missed all 13 of his 3-point attempts.
The Pistons can’t afford to just bury Daye on their bench, and until this report, the impression was that Daye had just lost his rotation spot for simply not playing well. I’m certainly not happy that he’s injured, but I’m glad to see that the decline in minutes doesn’t mean the team is not committed to playing him to figure out if he can develop into a useful player.
Foster also notes that Daye is “lost” defensively and that Lawrence Frank has been spending a lot of time looking at film with Daye to help him improve, particularly when it comes to collapsing on the post to help Detroit’s often over-matched frontline. Hopefully Daye’s ankle gets better and this time spent sitting has given him a chance to get a better idea of what the coaching staff expects of him on the court.