For the second game in a row at the Las Vegas Summer League, Austin Daye fell into the "more shots than points" category. In Sunday afternoon's loss against the Summer Cavs, Daye had 10 points on 11 shot attempts, brining his Summer League total to 24 points on 29 shots (8-for-29 FG, 3-for-14 3PT). While there may or may not be some worry about his performance in the LVSL by the Spurs organization and fans, it's clearly affecting his own attitude on the court.
Daye started the game 0-for-6 before nailing a three in the second quarter for his first bucket of the game. What followed was a look of pure frustration on his face, clearly angry it took him that many attempts to get his first points. What stems from a player like Austin struggling from the field are some forced shots, poor decisions, and a few dumb fouls.
Earlier in the week, the Summer Spurs' coach Ime Udoka talked about his plan for Austin Daye, saying, "We don't want to put him in unrealistic situations and we're gonna get him the shots he's gonna take in the game, want him to be a playmaker but be simple and be solid." So far, this gameplan looks to be taking place. Daye has been hanging out around the break of the three-point line and getting his looks coming off of screens. These shot attempts look very much like the ones he will likely be getting during the 82-game season, which has to be the reason he is so frustrated at this point.
All these misses aren't helping his confidence and focus on the defensive end either. As many shooters tend to do, there appears to be some lingering images of a recently missed shot on Daye's mind when he is playing defense. Granted, there isn't too much lockdown D going on in any of the games, but the Spurs were going into these two weeks wanting to see the defensive side of Austin's game. Udoka said, " [We] really want to see him guard fours. That's something that he's going to have to be able to do and show that he can do that." With his offensive frustration carrying over to the defensive side of the ball, Daye's struggles may grow to be larger than just missing buckets.
But as for any slumping shooter, the solution is not to take less shots, but to continue shooting; something Austin Daye appears to be understanding. He has the benefit of playing in exhibition games that have no affect on the franchise's status going into the season. The Las Vegas Summer League exists so that teams can experiment with new, young players with no negative effects carrying into the regular season. That's why Austin is there, and he can go about his shooting knowing that the Spurs have at least some interest in seeing him in the silver and black for another season.
Overall, Daye should try to block out any of the negativity that's so clearly in his head. The Summer League is always a hot mess of mistakes, bad passes, terrible shot selections, and poor floor spacing. It's encouraging to see Austin's shot attempts continue to be so high even while he is struggling because it shows that he knows his stroke is buried somewhere behind the summer rust that's so painfully visible right now. After buckets start falling, his confidence will have a resurgence, increasing possibility we see him getting some minutes in a Spurs uniform come November.
We all just need a reminder that this is exactly what the Summer League is for.