Tayshaun Prince has been on winning teams but Austin Daye’s run with the Memphis Grizzlies is a bit of a new thing for him. Prince said he wanted Daye to have a great game against the Pistons more than he wanted to have a good game for himself.
Daye hit his first shot but when Lawrence Frank went to a small lineup, Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins had to take Daye out for matchup reasons. Prince called it the right move but he knew Daye wanted to show his former team that he was a better player than he’d shown in his three and a half years in Detroit.
“Not really revenge factor, I know he’s pulling for me when I’m out there,” Daye said. “I wasn’t trying to hunt shots, I just wanted to play in a rhythm.”
Despite not getting a lot of minutes yet, Daye feels Hollins respects his talent and is up front with him about everything. Daye hasn’t always felt Frank believed in him, as evidenced by his sporadic playing time.
Just the mere fact he’s playing for a team that’ll still be active come May is something he looks forward to. The Pistons never made the playoffs during Daye’s time, so all he knows about the playoffs are games he’s attended and stories he’s been told, nothing firsthand.
“The environment is different. Every game is ramped up, every game is important,” Daye said. “We’re not far behind the third seed and people on our heels. We have to prepare each game to the fullest.”
He did get a bit of a reason to smile late in the blowout when he hit a long step back jumper in front of the Pistons bench, then playfully barked something on his way back down the floor.
“I didn’t say anything, Charlie (Villanueva) was just talking,” Daye said with a smile.
Sometimes just getting into a new environment is a reason to.