Internal Improvement: Austin Daye


Tom Gores said it better happen. Jonas Jerebko guaranteed it. Rodney Stuckey agreed.

The Detroit Pistons can certainly make the playoffs this season, but given how similar the team is to last year’s, it won’t be easy. It appears the Pistons are mostly relying on internal improvement in order to exceed expectations and reach the postseason.

For our 2012 preview series, Patrick and I will each examine one area where we see realistic room for improvement from each Piston. Today, we look at Austin Daye.

Shooting

Before he can begin to work on the skills he doesn’t have – toughness, defense, rebounding in traffic, etc. – Austin Daye needs to straighten out one he supposedly does.

Last season, Daye shot 21 percent on 3-pointers and 36 percent on 2-pointers – both horrid numbers. His confidence is clearly shot, and after spending part of the lockout not eating in Russia, Daye is close to getting bounced from the NBA.

If he can re-harness the one skill many (not including myself) are certain he possesses, shooting, he can probably earn at least another year in the league. — D.F.

Simplicity

After three seasons in the league and nearly 3,000 minutes of playing time, there’s still one thing I have some confidence that Daye can figure out how to do at an elite level — shoot the three. By all appearances, he seems like a hard worker. He’s tried to add weight and get stronger, even if it hasn’t worked out. He’s tried to develop an all-around perimeter game, even if it hasn’t worked out. Statistically, coming off a season where he only made 21 percent of his threes and with a pedestrian 33 percent career percentage, it might be foolish that I still think he can be among the NBA’s best marksmen. The numbers certainly don’t back me up and I would never say otherwise. But Daye does have a 40 percent from three season on his resumé, and mechanically, his shot looks flawless and easy. The other areas of Daye’s game have a long ways to go before they are rotation caliber. If those elements are going to develop, he’s going to need minutes, and if he starts making the many open shots that he was either missing or passing up last season, that will be enough to start earning him regular minutes. Non-lottery picks like Daye who are as unproductive as he has been come and go pretty often in the NBA. Daye’s jumper is still the one thing in his arsenal right now that can buy him more time in the league as the rest of his game catches up. — P.H.

Previously

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