November 3, 2010 at 1:00 am

Vincent Goodwill: Pistons Insider

Pistons' Austin Daye staying positive despite slow start

Austin Daye, right, put a lot of work in during the offseason in Las Vegas, and came back to the practice facility Monday night to get some extra shooting in. (Robin Buckson/The Detroit News)

You can see the frustration in Austin Daye's eyes.

Every shot that rims out is just eating at the second-year player.

Twenty-four percent shooting.

Five points.

Four rebounds.

It's still early, but this isn't the start Daye was hoping for, especially not after a strong exhibition season in which he averaged 16 points and six rebounds.

"It's been a tough three games, three we should have won," said Daye, a first-round pick in 2009. "I'm just missing shots I should be making.

"It's frustrating at times, but you should never dwell on things like this."

Although he says it doesn't bother him, it's clearly on his mind. After all, Daye put a lot of work in during the offseason in Las Vegas, and came back to the practice facility Monday night to get some extra shooting in.

But Pistons coach John Kuester is satisfied with other aspects of Daye's play (rebounding and defense), which was thought to be a question mark.

"His defensive focus has been very good," the second-year coach said "He's trying to do the right things and a lot of times there are other guys a lot stronger than him, and I understand that.

"When I watch the tape and see the shots he's taking, I'm very comfortable."

Josh Smith to Pistons?

If Atlanta puts athletic forward Josh Smith on the market, Detroit is on the list.

The Hawks signed Al Horford to a $60 million extension and gave Joe Johnson a max contract this summer ($121 million), and some national outlets have reported Smith could be had.

It's highly unlikely, though, the Hawks wouldn't want to see if this group can take the next step in the East.

Smith is owed $37.2 million the next three years.

Slowly but surely

Don't expect Tracy McGrady to come in a play at an All-Star level right away.

It's obvious he's not in shape yet to play major minutes, nor is he comfortable enough to be aggressive offensively.

And, Kuester is not going to put McGrady in a position where he can set himself back — expect Kuester to stick with the 15-minute per game limit.

Much-needed help

Whenever Chris Wilcox returns from injury, the one player who will be ecstatic is Ben Wallace .

Wallace is averaging 10.3 rebounds and nearly two blocks in 24 minutes. But having to go against Joakim Noah (Chicago) and Brook Lopez (New Jersey) will take a toll if he doesn't get any help.

By the numbers

4 -- Combined points the Pistons first two losses came by

11 -- Seasons since the Pistons began 0-3

47 -- Minutes Rodney Stuckey played without a turnover

Seen this before?

Ben Gordon didn't have a great 2009-10 season, but had a great start, not unlike this season:

2010-11

Opp.FG3FGPts.
Nets5-61-112
Thunder11-162-332
Bulls5-101-221

2009-10

Opp.FG3FGPts.
Grizzlies7-124-722
Thunder8-202-525
Bucks8-151-526

Slow starts

A look at some of the Pistons' early-season woes:

SeasonStartResult
1999-000-442-40
1997-98*2-537-45
1995-960-346-36
1992-93*2-940-42

* missed playoffs

Quotable

"I rule by intimidation; they'd think I'd be more of a dictator."

-- Ben Wallace, Pistons center, disputing teammates' assertion he'd be the best politician

vgoodwill@detnews.com

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