Summer superstar Austin Daye is back

Last summer, there was no Piston I was more excited about heading into the season than Austin Daye. Loved his mix of height and shooting ability, loved how hard he seemed to work during the lockout and really thought he would become a weapon off Detroit’s bench with his long-range shooting.

We all know that failed to materialize, Daye had a terrible season shooting the ball and heads into this upcoming season perhaps fighting for a job on the team, let alone a rotation spot.

Well, if yesterday’s performance in the Pistons’ win over Orlando is any indication, he is at the very least going to make some of the upcoming roster decisions interesting. From Evan Dunlap of SB Nation:

Veteran forward Austin Daye is probably overqualified for summer league, with 182 games and 24 starts across three NBA seasons. His experience showed Tuesday afternoon as he shot 8-of-10 from the floor, scoring 24 points in just 23 minutes. He also added six rebounds.

A 6-foot-11 forward with a guard’s shooting touch, Daye presents matchup problems for opponents, and he schooled Magic rookie Andrew Nicholson by eluding him in pick-and-pop sets. He shot just 32.2 percent from the field for the Pistons in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 campaign, but if Tuesday’s performance is any indication, he’s returned to form and could contribute plenty for a rebuilding Detroit squad.

Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:

The Magic defense couldn’t find him — and he made them pay. Daye also didn’t hesitate to go to the paint to bang around, even if he was playing out of position at power forward.

“This summer is my opportunity to play,” he said. “I don’t always look at things in a negative light. If I can take it as a learning experience and come into training camp more prepared, I’ll make the coaching staff play me.”

I certainly hope Daye continues to play well this summer and into training camp/preseason, but I’m going to hold off on getting to excited about it. Preparation and working hard in the offseason will obviously be big parts of whether or not Daye can turn his career around, but to this point, working hard hasn’t seemed to be the issue for him. I don’t think anyone would complain about his work ethic. The test is whether he can play confidently and efficiently during the regular season. The Pistons certainly need his perimeter shooting, so if he has indeed re-found his shooting stroke, that’s a positive development for the summer.

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