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Austin Daye

Austin Daye

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What's this?Please select....Baseball TicketsNBA TicketsNFL TicketsNASCAR TicketsWWE TicketsGolf TicketsTennis Tickets Character counted for Pistons in NBA draftPosted | Comment | Recommend E-mail | Save | Print | By Larry Lage, AP Sports WriterAUBURN HILLS, Mich.

— The Detroit Pistons wanted to improve on and off the court with this year's draft picks and Joe Dumars is pretty sure he pulled it off.The Pistons picked Gonzaga's Austin Daye with the 15th overall pick Thursday night and followed up in the second round with Georgetown's DaJuan Summers and Jonas Jerebko of Sweden.

They drafted Arizona's Chase Budinger for the Houston Rockets, who gave them cash and a second-round pick in 2012 or later.Detroit desperately needed to add tall and talented players because it likely will be without Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess next season."With Rasheed Wallace being a free agent and McDyess the same way, we had to focus on the frontcourt," Dumars said.But Dumars was also determined to players who are good guys and he is confident his new forwards fit the description."Over the last nine years, this was probably the toughest year dealing with issues," said Dumars, who is the Pistons' president of basketball operations.

"I said, "Never again will I deal with the issues or drama."'The Pistons had a six-year run of advancing to the conference finals before getting swept in the first round by Cleveland in April Detroit used three of the first 39 picks on forwards and is about $20 million under the salary cap, giving the franchise assets that could give it a chance to rebuild quickly.Daye will be a key cog -- or misfiring part -- as the Pistons reshape their roster in the hopes of regaining their status as an elite NBA team.

He averaged 12.7 points and 6.8 rebounds last season as a sophomore at Gonzaga.

Scouts were enamored by his combination of height, wing span and skills, but he will need to add weight to contribute.The 6-foot-11, 192-pound Daye insisted he shouldn't be underestimated physically."I may be frail, but I'm a tough kid," he said.Daye is 2 inches taller and about 20 pounds lighter than Detroit forward Tayshaun Prince."He is skinnier than Tayshaun," Dumars acknowledged.

"But we like his skill set."Dumars also likes his pedigree because he's the son of former NBA player Darren Daye, who was drafted by Washington in 1983 and also played in Chicago and Boston during his five-year career."Those kids grow up around basketball and they see behind the scenes more than the 2 hours of play, how hard you work in the offseason and the sacrifices you make," Dumars said.

"It does help because they come in much better prepared for this world."Pistons coach Michael Curry said Daye was a "hybrid-type forward" who is effective shooting jumpers, dribbling to create a shot or scoring on low-post moves."Rashard Lewis, he reminds me of a guy like that," said Curry, referring to the Orlando Magic star.Detroit won't expect Daye to do what Wallace and McDyess did, but he seems to give them a talented prospect to replace Amir Johnson, was traded earlier this week to Milwaukee.Wallace and McDyess are free to sign with any team as is Allen Iverson, making the Pistons players this offseason for free agents and highly paid players who might be traded by cash-strapped teams.Dumars wanted to add depth to his roster, hoping to be nine or 10 players deep, and might've found some players to help him reach that goal in the second round.Summers, the 35th overall pick, led the Hoyas with 13.6 points a game and averaged 4.1 rebounds.

Detroit acquired the selection from the Minnesota Timberwolves, completing a 2005 trade for Ronald Dupree.Jerebko, the 39th selection, played professionally in Italy last season and the Pistons might encourage him to stay overseas while retaining his rights.

The Pistons picked up the pick from Toronto -- and another a second-round pick in 2010 -- in a deal two years ago for Carlos Delfino.Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

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