From everything I've read following the draft, it seems that a lot of people are on the fence with their feelings toward Pistons first round selection, Austin Daye. Rightfully so, as most of the reports have him being a pick based solely on potential and character.
Personally, I really like the pick. And I say that despite my most memorable moment of Daye being his dreadful 3-13 shooting game against Stephen Curry and my alma mater Davidson Wildcats in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament. I've seen some of his other games and I've been impressed, but I won't sit here and pretend I can pass grade-A judgment on the guy. I certainly woudn't be as reliable as, say a die-hard Gonzaga fan/writer would.
So, naturally, I reached out to the writers over at The Slipper Still Fits, SB Nation's Gonzaga Bulldogs blog and asked them for an honest assessment of Austin Daye based on their two years following the young, scrawny fella's every move. There's some good people over there as they got back to me within just a couple hours with a very insightful piece on Daye and what he'll be able to provide (and won't be able to provide) the Pistons. They were also kind enough to stop by and post a couple comments in the initial Austin Daye draft pick post I put up minutes after the selection was made on Draft night.
Continue reading this post and read what they have to say about our newest Detroit Piston.
In Austin Daye, the Detroit Pistons are getting one of the most talented players in Gonzaga history. Austin came to Gonzaga as the first five-star recruit out of high school in the history of the program, and everyone assumed he was going to blossom into a superstar during his tenure at Gonzaga. Unfortunately, this never occurred, although all the blame can't be placed on Austin. This past season, Gonzaga had the most talented team in the Mark Few era, and because of senior leaders like Jeremy Pargo, Josh Heytvelt, Micah Downs, as well as junior Matt Bouldin, Austin was typically the 5th option offensively, and didn't really have the chance to be a go-to guy on the offensive end. It can also be argued that because of the roster and injuries that the Zags had last year, Austin was forced to play out of position as a 4 instead of at his preferred 3-spot.
Austin has incredible potential, and really has a game more suited for the NBA. He has a feathery jump shot that extends out to the 3-point line, and has very good ball handling and passing skills for a guy his size. We recently interviewed him, and he mentioned that a lot of teams view him in a Rashard Lewis type role, although I think Austin has the ability to be a better one-on-one type scorer then Rashard is. His passing is truly phenomenal for a 6'11 guy, and I also think that he can score against any defender. He has so much versatility and length offensively, that he can be nearly impossible to guard.
As I'm sure you have heard, Austin's main weakness is his strength. At the draft combine, he benched 185 zero times. He will get beaten up by stronger defenders, and until he is able to get better strength in his core, he won't be able to play or produce at the NBA level. I'm sure Joe Dumars recognizes this, and I wouldn't expect Austin to be a contributor next season. Detroit drafted Austin for the potential that he has, and the great impact on the offensive end that he might be able to make down the road. Austin will also be a liability defensively, as he certainly isn't a committed defender. He also might get out-muscled in the paint while trying to rebound. However, I think his offensive potential outweighs the defensive liability he may be.
As I mentioned earlier, we had the chance to interview Austin the day before the draft deadline, and I was blown away by how well-spoken he was. While many Gonzaga fans truly believe that Austin needed another year in school, there has been no denying how well he has represented Gonzaga throughout the process. The city of Detroit is getting a great kid, and a kid with no baggage and no bad history. I think that with Austin, Detroit was able to draft a guy that, if he had come back to school and put together the type of season that we all thought he was capable of, likely would have been a top 8 pick next year. The big question mark with Austin is, if he couldn't dominate at the college level, how can he dominate in the NBA?
Again, my gratitude goes out to the writers at The Slipper Still Fits for being kind enough to help us out and provide their thoughts on the Detroit Pistons first round selection. It might also be useful for fans looking to really get to know Daye to head over to The Slipper Still Fits' archive and read up on any past Austin Daye posts they might have. This was very useful, so thanks again guys.