3 Areas D.J. Augustin Helped the Magic the Most in 2018-19

by Josh Cohen

3-Point Shooting

What did Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving and D.J. Augustin have in common in 2018-19?

They were the only three point guards in the NBA who attempted a minimum of 300 3-pointers in the regular season and shot better than 40 percent on those attempts. Curry shot 43.7 percent on 810 attempts, Irving 40.1 percent on 434 tries and Augustin 42.1 percent on 311 attempts.

Furthermore, Augustin ranked second in the NBA, behind Curry, in pull-up 3-point percentage among regular starting point guards. He made 38.9 percent of his pull-up threes, ahead of Eric Bledsoe (38.4 percent), Collin Sexton (37.4 percent) and Damian Lillard (36.4 percent). Curry shot 41.5 percent.

Augustin was often the beneficiary of the Magic’s inside-out execution. From Dec. 25 until the end of the regular season, Orlando made the sixth most 3-pointers by way of kick-out passes, arguably the single most important pass type in the NBA. Throughout the entire season, Augustin buried 15 of his 33 3-point attempts when Nikola Vucevic dished out the kick-out pass, per Second Spectrum tracking data. He made 14 of his 24 tries when Evan Fournier delivered him the pass.

Orlando’s 31-year-old floor general hit his team’s most memorable 3-pointer of the year also. In the final seconds of Game 1 of the Magic’s first round playoff series against the Raptors, Augustin pulled up and drilled a go-ahead triple with 3.4 seconds remaining.

Limiting Turnovers

Augustin was the only guard who logged an assist to turnover ratio above 3.00 while starting in at least 80 games. Among all point guards who started in at least 50 games, meanwhile, Darren Collison, Mike Conley and Tomas Satoransky were the only three who ranked better than Augustin in this category.

It’s not really a surprise that Augustin took care of the ball as well as he did. For one, his career average in turnovers is 1.5, among the best in the league over the last 10 seasons among point guards. Second, Steve Clifford-coached players have historically done a great job limiting mistakes. The Hornets ranked No. 1 in the NBA in fewest turnovers per game in four of his five seasons as their head coach. The Magic ranked No. 5 in this category in 2018-19.

One of the reasons coaches adore Augustin is that he’d rather make a smart pass than a fancy pass, which helps him cut down on costly errors.

Pick-and-Roll Offense

The chemistry Augustin and Vucevic had in pick-and-roll/pop plays was superb. Among all tandems in pick-and-roll/pop plays, Orlando’s pair ranked second in made buckets when the ball handler passed to the screener in these situations, behind only Portland’s Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic, per data. Third on the list was Indiana’s Collison and Myles Turner and tied for fourth was the L.A. Clippers’ Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell and Sacramento's De'Aaron Fox and Willie Cauley-Stein.

This is a specific area of the game in which Augustin, a savvy veteran, can help pass down some knowledge to Markelle Fultz, whom the Magic acquired from the 76ers at the trade deadline in February. Fultz, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2017, has the skills to become one of the premier pick-and-roll players in the NBA, both as a scorer and playmaker.

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