Piston of the Week: Austin Daye

Piston of the Week (12/30/2012 – 1/5/2013): Austin Daye

12 points and four rebounds per game, 69.5 field-goal percentage, 5-for-9 on 3-pointers, .795 (!) true shooting percentage

Remember when fans were clamoring for Austin Daye to play more minutes as a rookie a few years ago? After they saw he wasn’t ready, they buried him. And then, he came back and made a few big shots and people loved him.

Then last year, after he hit what appeared to be rock bottom, it looked to be the end of the road for Daye in Detroit — maybe in the NBA.

What a ride it’s been.

Since pulling a Will Bynum (or maybe we can even call it a Charlie Villanueva?) and emerging from the shadows of Lawrence Frank’s ire, Daye has thrived in his role as a shooter and surprise rebounder in the Pistons’ bench mob.

Is Daye really back, though? Well, in 41 games last year, he shot 21 percent (13-62) from 3-point range. Through 13 games this year, he’s shooting 63 percent (15-24) and has already exceeded last year’s totals.

On paper, the highlight of Daye’s week may have been his 20-point (on 9-for-11 shooting) and six-rebound effort against the Hawks on Friday. But after being in attendance at Tuesday’s game against the Kings, Daye might have been better after he nailed the game clinching 3-pointer.

The foursome of Daye, Bynum, Villanueva and rapidly improving Andre Drummond controlled the Kings after coming in early in the second quarter. When Drummond has space down low and Bynum has the option to either drop the ball off to him near the basket or throw it back out to Daye or Villanueva outside the 3-point line, that second unit thrives.

That’s been the case in the Pistons’ four-game winning streak and a big part of that has been Daye’s reemergence.

Daye went through an array of personal battles last season — including his mother dealing with multiple sclerosis — but the biggest thing for Daye this year may very well be as simple as confidence.

He doesn’t bring a ton of positives to the court when his shot isn’t falling, but once that shot is falling, you see the rebounding and the real utilization of his length on defense.

It’s good to see Daye playing at a high level. Not only is he helping the Pistons right now, but also if they do choose to make a move at the trade deadline, he’s only improving his stock.

Past Winners

 

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Tags: Andre Drummond Austin Daye Charlie Villanueva Lawrence Frank Will Bynum

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