There are a lot of things not working for the Detroit Pistons right now. A lot.
But Austin Daye may be the most glaring. Last season coming primarily off the bench he gave them a solid if not spectacular 13 minutes a game, but you could see the athleticism and potential.
Then in the preseason he seemed to have tapped into that and may have been the best Pistons player — he was a classic stretch four hitting 50 percent of his threes and leading the team in rebounding. He earned a starting role.
Now that the games matter, it has been ugly. Through three games Daye is shooting 24 percent, his rebounding is off and he just looks overmatched. Most telling stat: His PER of 12.8 last season has fallen to 0.29 so far. Three games, small sample size, we get it. But three bad games.
Is it starting? Is it positioning? (Last season, despite being 6’11”, Daye was played more as a three than a four, now he’s mixing it up with the big guys.) Is it the poor play of the Lions?
Daye remains confident and told the Detroit Free Press his shot will come around.
“Obviously you think about it when you first miss it, but the shot’s already done, so I just move on to the next play,” Daye said.
It doesn’t get any easier. Tonight the Pistons get the Boston Celtics while facing more injuries — Rip Hamilton has an injured foot and probably will not go, Charlie Villanueva is a game time call with a sprained ankle. They join Jonas Jerebko, Terrico White, Will Bynum and Chris Wilcox on the sidelines. If everyone sits, coach John Kuester will have nine guys at his disposal tonight. Daye will be matched up on Kevin Garnett, never something good for the shooting percentage.
Detroit needs the preseason Daye back. Fast. Because things are getting ugly in Detroit.
With so much focus in recent weeks being on NBA players speaking out on social issues, it’s worth remembering that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been one of the most vocal athletes in America on these things for decades. The Hall of Fame and all-time leading scorer in NBA history addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening, urging voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, and opened his remarks by introducing himself as Michael Jordan, because “Donald Trump couldn’t tell the difference.”
You can watch the video of his speech below:
In the weeks since Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors, we have yet to hear Russell Westbrook speak on his former teammate’s decision. This week, ESPN.com’s Royce Young indicated in a podcast interview that Durant was telling Westbrook and others in the days leading up to his decision that he was coming back to Oklahoma City. He later walked back his report, saying he misspoke. On Thursday, Durant himself told The Vertical‘s Shams Charania that he never said any such thing, or misled Westbrook or anyone else about his intentions.
“It’s false,” Durant told The Vertical on Thursday. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth. We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. In this day and age, I can’t control anything people claim out there. Someone can go out and say something random right now, and people will believe it.
“I never told Russell or Nick [Collison], ‘All right, guys, I’m coming back to the Thunder’ – and then a week later, I decide not to. Never happened. I don’t operate like that. I heard people say that story, but it’s not the truth.”
So that settles that.
CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Bulls have signed guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
The Bulls acquired Dinwiddie in a trade with Detroit last month and waived him three weeks ago. He spent two years with the Pistons and appeared in 12 games last season, averaging 4.8 points and 13.3 minutes.
The Bulls announced the move Thursday.