Is it time for the San Antonio Spurs to close the book on the Austin Daye experiment?
Austin Daye has flat out struggled in his second season with the San Antonio Spurs. The 6-foot-11 forward is stuck at the bottom of the Spurs rotation and, in his limited playing time, is actually hurting the team rather than helping it.
Daye’s on court issues have been well documented since the forward came into the association after being drafted 15th overall in 2009.
While the former Gonzaga standout played alright in his first couple of seasons as he tried to feel his way out in the NBA (6.3 points per game in 16.7 minutes first two seasons), since being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies midway through his fourth season, the forward has struggled mightily.
Daye has played on three different teams since he was traded a couple of seasons ago, and just seems to be losing his confidence in the NBA.
Since his rookie year, Daye has never shot better than 43.3% from the field, an alarmingly low number given his size.
A look at Austin Daye’s recent numbers show just how much the forward has fallen off since coming into the NBA.
The most shocking revelation comes from his shooting struggles. Daye has hit an all-time low so far this season, connecting on only 31.5% on his field goals, only 31.8% of his tries from deep.
That second number wouldn’t be too bad if Daye was known for his interior game rather than his perimeter shooting. Unfortunately that is not the case.
Coming into the NBA, the California native was known for his three-point shooting prowess. While that was somewhat evident in his first few years in the association, recently it appears that his best asset has begun to fail him.
Now, to play a little more devil’s advocate here, once again that would not be too tough to swallow had Daye evolved his game to cover up the holes in his perimeter shooting. But he simply he has not, especially this season with Daye shooting a career low two-point percentage of 31.3.
When we break down his shooting by range over his career, it becomes increasingly evident Austin Daye has become an offensive liability.
The most staggering number here is Austin Daye’s 42.9% shooting percentage from the 0-to-3 feet range. May I remind you that Daye is 6-foot-11. There is no reason or explanation as to why Daye is missing some of the easiest buckets in basketball.
Now it is important to note here that scoring is not the only factor in offense. Passing is a factor just as equal, if not more important, as scoring.
Unfortunately for Austin Daye, he fails in this category as well.
Daye is posting some more career lows this season, but, this time its in the passing department. His 5.6% assist percentage and career high 15.5% turnover percentage highlight just some of Daye’s deficiencies in the passing game.
I tried to help Austin Daye’s case by taking a look at some of his passing numbers via NBA.com’s Player Tracking, but found no aid whatsoever.
Daye has made 296 passes this season. He has eight, yes eight, assists on the season. That means about 2.7% of his passes have turned into assists.
Some may say that what Daye lacks on offense he makes up for on defense. But like, Daye’s passing, that simply is not the case.
A look at Austin Daye’s defensive efficiency show that the issues he his having offensively are similar to those defensively.
Daye’s steal percentage is right near his career average while his block percentage is a career low. His defensive box plus minus (DBPM), a number that estimates his defensive points contributed per 100 possessions, is also not so hot (the more positive the better the number).
If he can’t produce offensively or defensively, what does he have to offer? Athleticism? Nope, that isn’t true.
When Daye participated in the draft combine he registered the second lowest vertical jump, a low 28 inches, was last in the 3/4 court sprints, bottom five in lane agility tests, and failed to lift 185 pounds.
Austin Daye has been a flat-out bust in his stint, not only with the San Antonio Spurs but in the NBA. It’s time for the Spurs to move on and drop the forward.
Currently he’s on the books for a little over $1 million which means waiving him is not a tough pill to swallow at all.
San Antonio even has an ideal replacement for the forward should they choose to fill the roster spot immediately.
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JaMychal Green, who worked out with the Spurs in the offseason and appeared in five preseason games with the team, has been absolutely tearing it up for San Antonio’s D-League affiliate, the Austin Spurs.
Green recently won the D-League’s Player of the Month award in December, recording seven double-doubles and averaging 24.5 points and 11.3 rebounds in the month.
He also has good size for a small forward, the same position Austin Daye plays, at 6-foot-8 220 pounds.
By waiving Green after the preseason, the Spurs were able to retain the Alabama product’s rights. Now would be the perfect time to take advantage of that NBA rule and close the door on the Daye experiment.