One of the theories floated around about Austin Daye‘s early season slump was that his confidence may have taken a hit when the Pistons re-signed Tayshaun Prince, meaning Daye would once again be battling for scraps behind the man who, I believe, is legally mandated by the state’s constitution to never play less than 33 minutes a game.
Steve Kyler of Hoops World mentioned that theory and asked Daye about it:
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.”
Now, in fairness, Daye isn’t really complaining about Prince being back, but his comments do sound a bit like he was caught by surprise by the re-signing (as many of us were). I think it’s plausible that that surprise might have hurt the spirit a bit of a player who craved a bigger role and seemed to work pretty hard in the offseason to prepare for it.