Austin Daye became a fan favorite after he posted a season-best 22 points to go along with six boards, one assist, two steals, two blocks and six 3-pointers in 29 minutes against the Philadelphia 76ers on March 24. But has he done enough to earn himself a spot on the roster when the playoffs begin?
When Daye arrived in San Antonio, head coach Gregg Popovich made it clear that the 6-11 forward would not see the floor much.
“No, he’s not here for that.” said Popovich of Daye being a serious part of the rotation.
However, that was before Daye got some minutes and got a chance to show what he could do. Through eight games with the Spurs, he has averaged 4.9 points per game and is shooting 61.1 percent from beyond the arc.
Now with Aron Baynes and Matt Bonner both sidelined with injuries, is the door open for Daye? After watching him for the past few weeks, it seems he is slowly adjusting to the San Antonio Spurs’ system. In his career, he has shot just 36 percent from three-point range and averages 5.4 points per game playing for five different teams.
Having Daye on the roster would no doubt give the Spurs another three-point threat. However, I do not feel he has done enough to earn a playoff roster spot. Baynes can bang down low in the paint and could come in handy when/if San Antonio faces the Oklahoma City Thunder or Houston Rockets (remember how he frustrated Dwight Howard?) in the playoffs.
Jeff Ayres or Bonner have not been a key part of the rotation as of late, but both could be used more in certain situations more than Daye.
I do think it is extremely unlikely that the Spurs waive Daye before his contract for next season becomes guaranteed. He provides an option for San Antonio at the three or four spot, and has the chance to turn into a consistent contributor if given the chance.
Daye being on the playoff roster is not realistic at this point, but in the NBA some moves pay off and others do not. I have high hopes that Daye will become a solid backup for the Spurs next season.
Who knows, he might surprise us like Patty Mills has this season. Then it’ll be a new Daye.
(Stats via basketball-reference.com)