I must preface this article by pointing out that the idea behind it came from a reader. Cecil Riley, a huge basketball fan with more insight than most, pointed out to me that Austin Daye has been receiving more playing time lately, which made him think that perhaps the Pistons were showcasing their forward for a potential future deal.
I, like Bill Simmons, hate it when I hear an idea that I didn't come up with but should have. But it is important to point out when someone's idea has merit, and this one certainly does.
Obviously there are a number of reasons why Daye has recently been given more minutes. First off, the team is struggling and new coach Lawrence Frank is looking for any type of spark. Just by the rule of deduction, eventually Daye would see his number called.
Second, the Pistons have been blown out quite a few times, leading to minutes for anyone and everyone.
Third, the Pistons need to figure out who fits the team going forward, and who will be trade bait.
The third reason is the real one to keep an eye on.
The Pistons are a team that is floundering these days. And while team president Joe Dumars may claim to have a plan to bring the team back to prominence, most fans think that this team is closer to the number one pick than they are to a title.
Sadly, it was less than a decade since this team hoisted the title, and just five years since they were relevant.
But make no mistake about it, this team is clutching at straws.
The only real tangible building block that Detroit has is Greg Monroe.
Most are optimistic about Brandon Knight and Jonas Jerebko, but nobody really knows if they will be anything more than role players for this team.
The rest of the roster is a huge question mark.
Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva have been huge disappointments, and neither really figure into the team's future other than as potential trading chips.
Ben Wallace is basically done, and Tayshaun Prince still is just a complementary player.
Jason Maxiell is a role player who should never play more than 20 minutes. Rodney Stuckey still has not proven that he can be much more than a decent player, and his inconsistency is gut-wrenching to watch.
This really leads us to the biggest question on the roster: what is to become of Daye?
Daye, physically, doesn't look much bigger than he did when he was drafted. He still is an incredibly lanky player without a lot of muscle mass to him.
Offensively, he still can shoot from anywhere on the court, but his post game has largely regressed.
Defensively, Daye is a conscientious objector, more of an observer than a participant. Too often he appears to be watching the game go on around him, and his lack of strength invites opponents to take it to him down low.
Daye is capable of the odd block or steal due to his length, but he doesn't show any instincts for that part of the game, and his body language always leaves a lot to desire.
Rebounding has never been a strong suit, and despite his height and length, he doesn't appear to be improving that part of his game. On the season he has yet to grab more than seven boards in a game, and is averaging less than three per game.
So what exactly is there to look forward to with Daye? Though he still is only 23, you have got to think that he is pretty much who he is. Daye is a perimeter shooter with length, nothing more, nothing less. He doesn't do much more than shoot, and if he isn't getting it done as a shooter, he really doesn't offer much more.
The only hope that Detroit has at this point is for Daye to exhibit some flashes of brilliance and become part of a multi-player deal.
NBA general managers love length and youth, and Daye has them both. Hopefully, he can bring something back to Detroit.
At this point, that really is all you can hope for with Austin Daye.
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