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Austin Daye settling into NBA role

If you woke up this morning feeling a little blue and you couldn't quite figure out why, I should just tell you that today is the one-year anniversary of Gonzaga's worst home loss in K2.  Yep, it was a year ago today, or tonight, that the Zags fell to Ken Bone and the Portland State Vikings.  For that reason, we're going to focus on a non-collegiate story and that is a little update on Austin Daye.  The former Gonzaga power forward is settling into his role at small forward for the Detroit Pistons. 

The 1.6 million dollar man started off his career slowly with Detroit.  He played sporadic minutes all the way up until mid-November.  Some games he would play 20 minutes and then the next night he would played four.  He's had some games that has gotten rave reviews from the Detroit fanbase and then some games he had them begging him to stop shooting the basketball.  In other words, he's been a rookie. 

Detroit has played eleven games in the month of December and, like our beloved Zags, they have been less than impressive only notching five wins.  They've had issues with Ben Gordon, Rip Hamilton, and others staying healthy and that has opened the door for Austin.  He's averaged about 17 minutes in December, four more than the previous month and is shooting 46% from the field and 35% from beyond the arc in the month.  About a third of his shots have come from three-point range in his career and his 33% mark on the season is third on his team behind DaJuan Summers (who has only attempted 17 three's) and Ben Gordon.

If you do a simple Google search, you'll find a lot of excitement from the people in Detroit when it comes to Austin.  On a team that has limited options when it comes to pure scorers, Austin is a shining light.  The Rodney Stuckey experiment has been shaky at best and their offseason acquisitions have had moments but staying on the court has been an issue.  At this point I really expect Austin's minutes to continue to go up as the season progresses.  Along with Daye, Detroit has two other rookies that appear to be destined for solid careers.  Former Georgetown Hoya DaJuan Summers and Swedish forward Jonas Jerebko.

He's still got some issues to work on.  Obviously defensive foot speed has always been an issue for Austin but that will come as his body continues to mature.  However, he hasn't really struggled with fouls much this year which is something we worried about when he left Gonzaga.  He has done a nice job not turning the ball over and averages a blocked shot every other game. 

The great thing is that he is staying on the court when he gets out there.  I think we all know that Austin is a pretty heady basketball player being the son of a former pro.  With all signs pointing to Adam Morrison's NBA career coming to an end pretty soon and Ronny Turiaf really struggling with injuries, Austin's recent success has to be great news for Gonzaga fans.  For the Zags to recruit the kind of kids that can take this program to the next level, it sure would be nice to have a poster boy for success at the next level in the Mark Few era.  Austin can be that guy and I'm sure Ronny can come back and be a solid role player.  Anyone with that kind of enthusiasm for the game is going to be hard to keep off a roster.

To learn more about Austin's NBA role, we urge you to check out SB Nation's great Detroit Pistons coverage at Detroit Bad Boys