AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — The Detroit Pistons lost one of the NBA's most versatile players to injury in the first game of the exhibition season.
They think they might have found a replacement.
Last season, Jonas Jerebko played everything from point guard to center for the Pistons, but he tore his Achilles' tendon last week in Miami and is expected to miss most of the regular season.
That means the utility role will fall on the shoulders of Austin Daye, who played mostly shooting guard for Detroit's summer-league team. He started Monday night's game against Atlanta at power forward.
The 6-foot-11 Daye looks too skinny to play the post — he weighs 10 pounds less than the famously slender Tayshaun Price — but he finished with 14 points and four rebounds.
"Austin Daye is a diamond in the rough," Pistons coach John Kuester said of the rookie from Gonzaga. "This kid is going to be an outstanding basketball player."
Daye hit several jumpers, including two 3-pointers.
"If I'm matched up with a bigger guy, I can take advantage of the mismatch on the offensive end," he said. "That evens things out for me."
Rodney Stuckey led the Pistons with 16 points while rookie Greg Monroe added 15.
Rookie Jordan Crawford, a Detroit native, led the Hawks with 20 points. Crawford, who played 46 minutes, saw his first professional action at point guard and finished with seven assists and three turnovers.
"I thought he did a good job under the circumstances," Atlanta coach Larry Drew said. "He was anxious about playing the point, and he was really excited about playing in front of his friends and family, but he settled down and did some nice things. It was a good learning experience for him."
After a slow start, the Hawks (0-2) got back into the game with a 32-point second quarter. Detroit (2-1) held Atlanta to four field goals in the third quarter and pulled away for the win.
Both teams had several players sidelined with injuries. The Hawks had six players unavailable, including Marvin Williams, while Detroit was missing five, including Tracy McGrady, who sat out his second straight exhibition game to rest his bad knee.