April 5, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) passes the ball against the defense of Memphis Grizzlies power forward Austin Daye (5) during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Austin Daye - in focus

With some trepidation, I undertake a look at Austin Daye, a fifth-year pro signed as a free agent by the Toronto Raptors. I say “trepidation” because I haven’t seen much of Daye during his career; of course, he has largely been pasted to his teams’ benches, so it’s not surprising.

Daye was drafted #15 out of Gonzaga University in 2009 by the Detroit Pistons, where he laboured disappointingly for 3-plus seasons before being traded to Memphis. Our dumping of Jose Calderon and Ed Davis was a three-team affair, and Austin was part of the package that moved to Memphis.

April 15, 2013; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons point guard Jose Calderon (8) warms up before the game against the Philadelphia 76ers at The Palace. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Daye’s best season in Motor City was his second, in which he started 16 times, and averaged 7.5 points per game [PPG]. He couldn’t build on even that modest production in ’11-’12. His 3-point percentage tumbled badly in that strike-shortened season (from 41.0% to 21.1), and he’s been watching a lot more than playing since.

I don’t know how the Raps plan to use Daye.  He’s never going to be a rebounder, as his career average is 2.8 per game [PG], or a shot-blocker (0.5 PG). While he can add to the current craze for a stretch-4 ["It's this season's must-have position"], I don’t know why we need another perimeter big when we’ve already got Steve Novak. I would much rather the Raps found Amir Johnson-lite, a tough rim protector who could anchor the second unit’s defense. I know we still have Aaron Gray, but he’s about as mobile as a fire hydrant. Daye is not known for his low-post moves, so what’s he got? I know what he doesn’t have – any weight to spare. He’s listed at 200 pounds, apportioned most sparingly over his 6’11” frame.

Austin Daye has averaged 15.4 MPG in his career, and I’d be very surprised if he gets anywhere near that number as a Rap. If he does, and it’s halfway through the season, we won’t be in the playoff hunt.

I’m always interested in your thoughts, Rapture Nation, and particularly so with a player whose status on the team is so nebulous, and about whom I know so little. Can anyone help me out here? Does Austin has something to sell I didn’t mention? Please drop a Comment, and let’s get some dialogue happening.

Brian Boake is Senior Editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.

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