For most of the 2000′s, Pistons general manager Joe Dumars was striking out in the draft. Besides Tayshaun Prince and Mehmet Okur in the 2001 and 2002 drafts, Dumars didn’t have another draft pick make an impact until Jason Maxiell in 2005.
He went another few drafts before Rodney Stuckey and Arron Afflalo in 2007 – and not much in between – but in the last three years, he has done extremely well. Using the last few drafts, we’ll be taking a look at the Pistons young core of players and best-case projections for each. We’ve already looked at Brandon Knight, Rodney Stuckey, and Jonas Jerebko, and Kim English; next in line is Austin Daye.
Daye is an extremely tough player to gauge. He’s one of the tallest players that the Pistons have at 6’11”, but at just 200 pounds, he’s one of the lightest – 6’5” guard Rodney Stuckey is five pounds heavier than Daye. This has lead to the main reason the former Gonzaga Bulldog can’t seem to get his game going – he gets pushed around on both ends of the court and can’t stay on the court long enough to have an impact.
He does have the ability to stretch the floor for the Pistons on the offensive end, shooting 40% from beyond the arc in his best season with the team (2010-11). Unfortunately for him and the team, that percentage plummeted to 21% last year, essentially rendering him useless on the court. If he can gain a few pounds and somehow regain his form, he may be able to stay with the team, but if that doesn’t happen, Joe Dumars might just let him go next offseason.
Best-case scenario: Shawn Marion
Marion came into the league with a lanky frame, unique shooting touch, and the ability to bound down the court like a gazelle. Being 6’7” and 228 pounds with long arms, he has been able to defend nearly all positions on the floor, something that has helped him stay in the league for 13 years.
In just his sixth year in the league (2005-06), he was the only player in the NBA to finish in the top 20 in points (21.8), rebounds (11.8), steals (2.0), blocks (1.7), field goal percentage (52.5%) and minutes (40.3); truly indicative of his unique physical abilities.
Daye will likely never see that kind of production with the Pistons, considering the logjam at his positions, his lack of confidence and his inability to gain muscle mass. Should he improve all or some of those things, he could certainly have a game-style similar to Marion’s and carve out a niche as a reserve.
Again, this is all assuming that Daye drastically improves in the next few months. If that doesn’t happen, he may have to find another team to take a chance on him.