Per game stats:
61 games played, 9 games started
14.9 points per game; 41.9% FG%; 41.1% 3P
5.0 assists per game, 2.9 rebounds per game, 1.9 turnovers per game, 0.9 steals per game
This is still incredibly weird to say but DJ Augustin was one of the major reasons why Chicago’s season didn’t go down the toilet following the Luol Deng trade. Roughly around the time Deng was shipped off to Cleveland, Augustin really came into his own in Thibodeau’s system and took over as the team’s leading scorer. His spark off the bench helped reinvigorate Chicago’s league worst offense… to a degree. Though he wasn’t a prolific passer, Augustin’s movement both on the ball and off helped diversify Chicago’s offense. His three point shooting abilities helped space out the floor, side-to-side movement helped open up lanes to drive or cut into, and he was able to run the pick-and-roll relatively well with all of the team’s big men. While playing for the Bulls, Augustin managed to put up his highest points per game of his career.
While Augustin helped provide a much needed offensive spark off the bench (and in general), his shooting percentage could stand to be a bit better. Roughly 42% isn’t anything to be proud of especially if you’re a player who’s career was all but over like Augustin. To his credit he was essentially the only shot creator on the floor at any given time which, for a guy who reaches 6’0″ in shoes, isn’t exactly ideal. It would have been nice to see what Augustin could have done if teams didn’t realize he was going to do most of the shot creating or cut into a lane waiting for Joakim Noah to pass the ball.
One of the knocks on Augustin through his career has also been somewhat poor decision making and that still seems to be an issue, though not nearly as much as it once was. Augustin had a tendency to force or loft passes too much which put the team at a high risk of turning the ball over. Additionally Augustin had a tendency to settle for pull-up three point jumpers, something that was most evident during Chicago’s first round matchup.
Lastly, and most importantly, Augustin’s defense was a gaping hole. As much as I love Augustin and advocate Chicago bringing him back next season, his defense either needs to be improved or Thibodeau needs to find a work around. Augustin has a tendency of allowing quicker guards, like John Wall and Bradley Beal, to get by him which creates numerous problems for the team’s defense (should the guard pass the ball well).
I want to give Augustin an “A-” but ignoring my bias in favor of him, I have to give him a B+. His offense was critical to Chicago’s success and is the biggest reason for the high grade despite the issues he had on defense. Additionally, seeing him resurrect his career from the ashes when no one ever expected him to was fun to watch.
Augustin is set to be a free agent this offseason after becoming a mid-season waiver wire signing for Chicago. Like Nate Robinson, John Lucas III, and CJ Watson before him, Augustin has seemingly played his way to a multimillion dollar deal. Regardless of what moves are made, Chicago will have the opportunity to resign Augustin with either cap space or the bi-annual mid-level exception. DJ Augustin has expressed a desire to return to Chicago so there may be a bit of a hometown discount, especially considering Augustin’s results are likely a result of Thibodeau’s system (keep in mind Watson, Lucas III, and Nate Robinson haven’t experienced similar success since leaving Chicago). But given Thibodeau’s system with randomly picked up guards, one has to wonder if the Bulls will simply go looking for the next miracle guard. In an offseason filled with uncertainty, it’ll be an interesting story to watch.