By Brendan Savage | firstname.lastname@example.org
on December 18, 2012 at 5:27 PM, updated December 18, 2012 at 5:30 PM
AUBURN HILLS – Austin Daye passed his first audition in the Detroit Pistons search for a backup small forward and will get another opportunity to show he deserves the job fulltime.
While Monday night's stat sheet might not reflect the type of results fans were hoping for, coach Lawrence Frank liked what he saw when Daye played for the first time in almost three weeks during an 88-76 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
So much that Daye will get another shot at becoming Tayshaun Prince's permanent backup when the Pistons visit the Toronto Raptors Wednesday night.
"He only took two shots, but he was engaged in the boards in terms of keeping balls alive," Frank said Tuesday. "He took an NBA foul against (Blake) Griffin when he got beat on an early post-up. He made simple plays. He also made some mistakes. For a guy who hasn't really played the entire year, I thought he did well.
"It's an adjustment. When you're not playing, you'll do anything to play. Austin, the whole thing in his NBA career is what's his best position? You have a guy who can do different things at each spot."
Finding a position for Daye has been a challenge.
Although he's 6-foot-11, Daye weighs 200 pounds and doesn't possess the type of strength it takes to play power forward, where he started the season before becoming the third player the Pistons have employed as Prince's backup.
Jonas Jerebko started the season as the backup small forward before veteran Corey Maggette assumed the role after missing the first eight games of the season with a calf strain.
But Maggette didn't give the Pistons what they were seeking so Daye's number came up against the Clippers despite the fact that he hadn't played since a 117-77 victory over Phoenix Nov. 28.
The game vs. Phoenix marked Daye's fifth appearance of the season. In those five games, he had a total of 12 points, five rebounds and two assists while playing a combined 24 minutes.
Against the Clippers, he played 19 minutes and had two points, two rebounds, an assist and two points.
"I played pretty well," Daye said. "I'm trying to stick with it. I'm still being aggressive, trying to make plays. I'm trying not to be tentative. I just want to be aggressive. When you're aggressive, you make plays."
One thing that impressed Frank was Daye's attitude when he languished on the bench.
Daye waited patiently for his opportunity while continuing to work hard in practice with assistant coaches Charles Klask and Dee Brown.
"I'm very, very proud of Austin ... just to see the development and maturity," Frank said. "Every single player in the NBA wants to play. The guys that are able to fit in the league in a reserve role are the guys who get it from a professional expectation every single day.
"Austin has been very, very good every day."
Daye, who is in his fourth season after being the 15th overall pick in the 2009 draft out of Gonzaga, admitted that earlier in his career he might not have handled the lack of playing time as well as he has this season.
"I'm older," said Daye, 24. "When you're a kid and things don't go your way, you want them to go your way no matter what. As a man, you have to mature and you have to make things happen on your own."
Daye is averaging 2.3 points and 1.2 rebounds in six games this season. Only Khris Middleton and Slava Kravtsov have played less than Daye.
His best season was in 2010-11, when 7.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists while playing 20 minutes per game.