The second year is not guaranteed. I’m actually quite familiar with Austin Daye as he’s someone that I’ve been tracking since before he got drafted. To get started, here’s his scouting report via ESPN Insider:

Scouting report
+ Tall, thin combo forward with accurate long-range jump shot. B athlete.
+ Has increased activity defensively, but struggles on boards. Can’t get to rim.
+ Good shot-blocker. Solid rebounder. Lacks great handle. Doesn’t draw fouls.


That stampede you heard was the remaining passengers getting off the Daye bandwagon. A jump-shooting forward who couldn’t make jump shots, Daye offered little at either end to offset his wayward shooting.

And wayward it was: He made 21.0 percent of his 3s and 27.4 percent of his 2s beyond 10 feet, which for an alleged shooter is a bit of a problem. Daye had the worst 2-point shooting percentage of any power forward at an abysmal 36.4 percent, and the worst overall shooting percentage at 32.2 percent. Did I mention he didn’t draw fouls either? That left Daye also the worst at his position in true shooting percentage and player efficiency rating.

The “good” news is he was only the second worst in rebound rate. Actually, the rest of his defense wasn’t bad — he ranked in the top 15 of power forwards in both blocks and steals per minute, and saw fewer overwhelming strength matchups given the increasing prevalence of small ball around the league. Unfortunately, his offense made him completely unplayable, and unless his shot recovers his career is in jeopardy.

That first line sums it up for me. Coming out of Gonzaga he was touted as a stretch-big who could pose mismatches, much like we thought Andrea Bargnani would. Unfortunately, the guy simply could not make jumpers and top it off, was horrendous defensively his first year. He shot 30% from three his rookie year and saw his minutes increase to 20 the year after on a bad Detroit team, and he overall disappointed by shooting only 40% overall. Remember, this was supposed to be his speciality.

His defense did look passable in Memphis in limited minutes, but I’m not sure how much of that was just him playing on a good team. The guy reminded me of a taller version of Ersan Ilyasova at one point but he just hasn’t been able to create an offensive niche in this league. If he is to stay in the NBA it’ll now be as a very situational role player, and there’s a good chance he’s staring down the Loren Woods path to nowhere.

You could also view him as a Rudy Gayish type as he’s been deployed as an oversized small forward. Without the quickness and ball-handling part though, he does run into danger of looking like a stiff, as he has on many a night in Detroit. Continuing with the versatile theme, he could be seen as competition for Terrence Ross after the latter’s rather underwhelming summer league performance. Using Gaye as a backup wing isn’t out of the question and it’s probably a good idea to give Terrence Ross some competition because as it stands right now, he’s the de facto backup shooting guard which seems rather undeserved.

It’s another low-risk move by Ujiri as he tries to find cover for Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas. What this move does is give the Raptors another body to make the backup PF/C a platoon-type position where the rotation is entirely up for grabs. Clearly, Ujiri isn’t swinging for the fences this off-season and is content to using portions of the MLE to fill in gaps cheaply (to-be-confirmed, he could be part of the bi-annual exception).

He was part of the Rudy Gay deal as he was in the Tayshaun Prince package which Memphis received, and it’s now clear that that was only due to salary-matching reasons as Memphis showed little interest in his services. He was at the Drew League when this deal was consummated so I’m guessing some conversations were had there and things escalated quickly.

If you’re of the tank inclination you might be pleased with this move, and if you’re of the non-tank state of mind you’re viewing this, much like Augustin, as a buy-low move which could either pay off or be benign. Now that is versatility!

You can follow him on Twitter here, where he’s already changed his profile picture to a Raptors logo.

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50 Responses to “Raptors Sign Austin Daye to two-year, $2 million Deal”

  1. Dev

    That felt like it came out of nowhere. I don’t see where he fits besides if injuries come in? Hopefully it’s a sign of fields being on the market

  2. Kujo2020

    To say that Austin Daye has been awful so far in him NBA career would be an understatement. I don’t see him getting much minutes, but he’ll definitely contribute to the tank philosophy.

  3. Jamshid

    I love these signing. He is putting little money on guys that he thinks might turn it around instead of giving them multi year deals , gambling that they will ( BC Style).

  4. rapierraptor

    I agree that he’s probably headed for Loren Woodsville. It’s not a good sign that he’s still only 200 lbs after four years in the league, he isn’t a top-flight athlete and his shooting stroke is pretty but it doesn’t go in the basketball nearly enough (sound familiar?). Having said that A LOT of people were convinced that he was going to be a contributor in the league after the 2012 summer league. He put up 15.8 pts, 7.4 rbs and 2.0 blocks a game and looked VERY smooth and crafty in the process. This is a very low risk, moderate reward signing. I think Dejuan Blair would have filled a bigger need at a similar price but Daye is serviceable as a 10th man.

  5. raptorspoo

    All the small moves really does look like MU’s preparing for the big moves to tank.

    Oh boy. Licking my lips~

  6. Jack Andrews

    I think this is a great signing and just another shrewd move by Ujiri.
    If by the deadline this team is not in the 6 or 7 spot you tear it down…
    Lowry = Buycks and D.J.
    Gay = Daye and Novak
    Johnson = Hansbrough and Acy
    I really think this guy knows what he’s doing and is going at this year the best way he can… try and win and if you don’t have a shot… tank like nobodies biz!

  7. Stephen Brotherston

    Just completely ignore that out-of-date ESPN “insider” report.

    In his 2nd season when he played 20+ min he hit on 40% of his 3-pointers, he hit 41.8% last year.

    Career true shooting percentage is 50.8%.
    Over his 4 NBA seasons, his defensive rebounding rate is a respectable 18.5%.

    Career per 36 min numbers are 13.1 pts, 6.5 rbs, 1.1 blks, 1.0 stls.

    The kid is a project – coming from a bad team (Detroit) with worse coaching – but where did you find that scouting report and why didn’t you burn it instead of posting it?

    (that scouting report is from mid-season 2 years ago – you know – the lockout season)

  8. slpz90

    I’ve never been too high on Austin Daye, but I figured that he had potential since he got drafted so high. Kind of a Gordon Heyward type, but worse. Nevertheless, he has length and could be an above average defender on the squad if nothing else.

  9. FAQ

    MU is really scraping the bottom of the NBA barrel now to fill out the roster. Now, I ask you, would you pay good money to go to the ACC to watch this Raptor roster which can only be categorized as a group mostly of no-name 2nd/3rd stringers and assorted scrubs?

    Surely this must be the most pathetic Raptor roster of all time… and apparently there are even worse teams in the league! Maybe if the t.h.f.’s come out and support the Raptors a miracle will happen, after all the power of love is a great motivational factor too… because money ain’t everything!

    • Milesboyer

      Do you think signing Austin Daye tilts the balance one way or another? This is an end of the bench signing, the plan has been moving forward for weeks now. This team is what it is – it only had two options to begin with: tear it down completely and tank or do what MU has been doing with the option to tank if it doesn’t work. Not sure anyone could or should have expectations otherwise.

      • SR

        Austin Daye will need to put on 50 lbs. before he can think about tilting anybody’s balance.

  10. FAQ

    BTW… wasn’t it Charles Barkley who said talent was spread too thin because there are too many teams in the NBA?

    The original NBA owners made a pisspot full of money by expanding the league to the detriment of the game.

    What we have is a three tiered league comprising of 8-10 top contending teams, a few teams vying for last playoff spots, and a bunch of crap entertainment teams who only bring in good visiting teams to various venues… Toronto being one of them for many years and with a bad reputation to boot.

    • SR

      Yes, talent is spread thinner because there are 30 teams, but I don’t buy this argument that the lack of parity is due to the size of the league. On a common sense level that argument is reasonable – you’d think with fewer teams you’d have more concentrated talent and more success across the board. Historically, though, all leagues have had crap teams, strong teams, and in-between teams throughout their history, regardless of league size at the time.

      For example, in it’s heyday in the 80’s, the NBA had 11 teams finish the ’84-’85 season with losing records in a 23 team league (!!!). The Kincks, Pacers, and Warriors all finished that season with 20-22 wins each in an 82 game schedule. The Knicks had one all-star (Bernard King), the Pacers had none, and the Warriors had none. Is that the kind of parity Charles Barkley, Bill Simmons, etc. refer to pre-expansion? It’s a load of bunk – basically old men seeing the past through their rose-coloured glasses.

      Go as far back with any league you want and you’ll see a similar story. Poor management leads to bad team performance and a lack of roster talent, regardless of the size of the league. Good management can build you a contender in any city (current small market contenders include Memphis, OKC, Indiana, and SA, for crying out loud). It’s really that simple.

      • SR

        I also agree with the basic business model of the NBA re: expansion. You expand into new markets and then you wait 15-20 years to start seeing talent develop out of those markets. Eventually your talent pool catches up with your expansion because of the influence of the league on kids who want to play the sport now that they have a hometown team to inspire them.

        Canada’s a perfect example of this. All these Canadian kids getting drafted high in the first round loved basketball because of Vince Carter.

        Hockey’s seeing great talent coming out of Texas and California, of all places.

        The NBA also has its international influence. There weren’t nearly as many international players contributing to the league’s talent pool in the pre-expansion days Barkley talks about.

  11. Nilanka15

    Ujiri said he likes to stash young players at the end of his bench. I think this signing fits with that game plan. I don’t expect Daye to see many minutes other than garbage time. He’ll likely be in street clothes most nights, along with Acy and Buycks (assuming Richardson is indeed bought out).

    As such, I don’t expect this signing to influence the tank-vs.-win-now debate one way or the other.



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