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.
Minnesota is going to be entertaining to watch this season. A healthy Ricky Rubio (hopefully) dishing at the point, Karl-Anthony Towns is already a high-IQ passer, and bench players such as Shabazz Muhammad and Adreian Payne have shown some skills.
Then there’s Andrew Wiggins. The reigning Rookie of the Year developed quickly last season — particularly his jump shot — and he should make a big leap this season. He’s going to dunk on people and end up in a lot of highlight packages while putting up a lot of points.
Enough to set the Minnesota Timberwolves single game scoring record, currently held at 52 by Mo Williams? That’s the question for this PBT Extra with Jenna Corrado.
The Bulls have said Derrick Rose is about a week away from returning after suffering a facial fracture this preseason.
The start of the NBA season is two weeks from today (Oct. 27).
So Rose will be ready to go when the Bulls start their season that first night against Cleveland, right? Don’t bet on it, says Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com, quoting coach Fred Hoiberg.
The opening night projection for a Derrick Rose return is a bit murky at this point, as the Bulls are taking a cautious approach to his recovery with Fred Hoiberg essentially ruling him out for the rest of the preseason.
“Most likely (out for the preseason),” Hoiberg said….
In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Rose sit out the first handful of games, as the Bulls start the season with a three-game in four-night stretch starting Oct. 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, which is in two weeks.
“That will be in consideration, sure,” Hoiberg said. “We gotta make sure, he really hasn’t done anything and that will be a good two or three weeks where he has total inactivity, so just to throw him back out there going 100 percent with his speed and everything, you just don’t want to take any risks, chances, where it could be a lingering issue.”
Just what TNT and the NBA hoped for with an opening night Bulls vs. Cavaliers showcase: Kirk Hinrich vs. Mo Williams. (Don’t forget Kyrie Irving will miss the start of the season recovering from his knee surgery.)
Of course, this is the smart play for the Bulls who need to be thinking about getting Rose fully healthy and focusing on what condition he will be come April 27, not Oct. 27.
And of course, a lot of Bulls fans who are down on Rose will slam him for this. Even though the injury was a freak accident and the team is right to be patient.
Rose could play opening night, if he gets back to practice next week and can get closer to basketball shape. But I wouldn’t bet on it.