Player Review: D.J. Augustin
by Mark Montieth | firstname.lastname@example.org
June 10, 2013, 12:30 PM
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Years Pro: 5
Status: Free Agent
Key Stats: Averaged 4.7 points and 2.2 assists in 16.1 minutes. Shot 35 percent from the field and the 3-point line. Was team's best foul shooter at .838 percent.
D.J. Augustin's first, and perhaps only, season with the Pacers was somewhat of a disappointment for all concerned. Close examination, however, reveals he played better than most people probably recall.
Signed as a replacement for Darren Collison, it was presumed he would be a better fit as a backup point guard behind George Hill because of his ball-handling ability and steadiness in the half-court. Preseason evaluations from teammates and coaches always seemed to come with the “pure point guard” label firmly attached.
A slow start earned him a 10-day respite on the bench in December, during which Ben Hansbrough took over the non-Hill minutes for four games, but he improved after returning to the rotation. With Hill out, he had 17 points and six assists against Memphis on Dec. 31, and then 18 points and six assists in the following game against Washington. He had 10 double-figure scoring games during the regular season after his return from exile.
He struggled to adjust to playing limited minutes in a backup role after starting all but two games the previous two seasons in Charlotte. He knew what he was getting into when he signed a one-year deal with the Pacers, but apparently that didn't make it any easier for him.
Still, he had his moments, particularly in the playoff series against New York. He scored 16 points, hitting 4-of-5 three-pointers in the Pacers' Game 1 victory in Madison Square Garden, and had two other double-figure scoring games in the series. He was less visible in the conference finals against Miami, scoring 17 points in 98 minutes over seven games, but he took just nine field goal attempts. Coach Frank Vogel made it a point to always have a couple of starters in the game, and the offense ran through them.
Stats aside, Augustin afforded Vogel the option of playing George Hill at shooting guard, which Hill enjoys. Together, they provided a dependable backcourt that kept the ball moving and didn't turn it over much at closing time of tight games.
Augustin plays without expression. He practically lives that way, too. He's a good guy, certainly not a problem to anyone, but he doesn't bring energy or emotion to his job. There's not much wrong with that, particularly when other players are doing so, but it left the impression he didn't care or play hard. In reality, that wasn't the case.
The odds are decent that the Pacers will try someone else at the position next season, but it won't be as easy as people think to find someone as productive and willing to play off the bench for the $3.5 million he was paid. He, in turn, might look for an opportunity to start on a lesser team, or a long-term contract that might enable he and his wife and infant daughter to settle for a while.
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