Commenter and fellow Pistons and Wins Produced aficionado Gabe recently pointed out that Austin Daye has been playing well recently (even if out of position). Gabe says,
It looks to me like Daye might be turning a corner. His non-scoring stats are holding steady, and his scoring efficiency is trending way up because of a hot streak from 3. Daye’s 3 point shooting % will go down, but there’s still some unrealized potential as he’s barely gotten to the line at all, if he can improve even a little bit at drawing free throws, his scoring efficiency should stay pretty good. He’s definitely not a PF, but paradoxically (to go back to a debate we had about a week ago), because of the crap-ness of the Pistons other candidates for minutes at PF, I think there is a chance that Daye is Q’s best option at PF on the roster.
I decided to take a quick look at some numbers, and Gabe’s absolutely right that Daye’s recent performance has been good. Because the season is so young, even a handful of games of good play can cause a large jump in WP48, and that’s exactly what’s happened.
After 3 games, Daye was producing in the negative range (-.174 WP48). After 10 games, Daye had moved into the positive range, but barely (.014 WP48). Now, only 3 games later, Daye has jumped to .068 WP48. Gabe is right to observe that this is largely due to a hot streak in shooting which will level off over time, but it’s encouraging nonetheless.
And for Pistons fans, at least there’s something to be interested in and excited about – a young player playing well isn’t something we’ve seen much of in recent years, and it certainly bears watching over the next several games.
Can Daye can continue to rebound well, keep blocking shots, keep knocking down open jumpers, and improve relative to getting to the FT line? I’m obviously biased as a Pistons fan, but I remain optimistic that Daye can do at least some of these things consistently, and if he can, I think we’ve found a very nice player who can be part of a core moving forward.