Welcome to the third edition of the report card series. Last time we went through Raymond Felton’s season, so I figured today would be a good time to give you DJ Augustin’s portion.
Position: Point Guard
HGT/WGT: 6’0, 180
Experience: 2 years
Status: Still on his rookie contract, Bobcats have his rights through 2012/13, makes $2.5 million next year.
In one of the rare things he has in common with fellow point guard Raymond Felton is that he wasn’t the man Bobcats fans wanted in the draft. However, unlike Felton, the target was still on the board when Larry Brown chose Augustin over Brook Lopez. Augustin showed great promise in his rookie season, playing 26.5 minutes per game, averaging 11.8 points and shooting 44% on his three-pointers while starting twelve games. He was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie Second Team. Coming into this season, many fans clamored for DJ to be the starting point guard, but after another 80 games, that’s no longer a vocal majority.
Despite his lack of height and toughness, it’s not hard to see that Augustin is a shooting guard. He’s just trapped in a point guard’s body. Throughout his rookie year, Coach Larry Brown repeatedly asked him to shoot the ball more, even though he was basically the third likeliest to shoot among rotation players on that team, behind just Boris Diaw and Raymond Felton. Yet this season, by that same definition he was just the 8th likliest, out of 11. But that wasn’t the only stat that dropped. His minutes, points, rebounds, field goal percent, three point percent, and even free throw percent dropped, all in significant portions. His win shares/48 and usage rate plummeted. After breaking 20 points ten times his rookie year, he managed to do it just twice this past season. For someone like Augustin, who’s main defensive skill is thievery, John Hollinger’s PER (player efficiency rating) is a good barometer of his success (unlike most Bobcats). PER is set to have a league-wide average of 15, and DJ was just below average in ’08-’09, with a 14.9 PER. Yet this past season, Augustin was only able to put together an 11.2 PER. So why did Augustin fall so far so quickly? Some have blamed it on the signing of Flip Murray, who impacted DJ’s playing time. Yet after Murray departed, DJ immediately embarked on a horrid 2-for-27 stretch. While he was able to finish the season on a good note, hitting at least one three pointed in 9 of his last 12 games, he regressed even farther in the playoffs. While Raymond Felton has been berated for his poor showing and will lose money because of it, Augustin was actually worse. As Felton shot 40%, Augustin was just 29%, the worst of anyone with more than 5 minutes total of playoff action. Using that same definition, only Theo Ratliff and Tyson Chandler scored less. Odds and payoffs vary widely among sports betting establishments. After you choose who you plan to bet on, look at a few different odds-makers before placing the bet. You may find that you can find better odds on the same bet than you originally expected. And though Felton had a sky-high 116 DRTG (points scored against per 100 possesions), Augustin’s was also 106. The difference was Felton’s ORTG (same stat, but for offense) was 105, DJ’s was 88, behind everyone but Stephen Jackson and Theo Ratliff. As I showed in the Raymond Felton report card, Augustin was somehow able to draw a negative win share rating. The only players more detrimental were Jackson and Ratliff. All in all, not a good season.
Future: With Felton’s contract situation unresolved, Augustin is by default the only “point guard” on the roster. But don’t look for it to stay that way. With his performance this season, I doubt anyone in the Bobcats Front Office believes Augustin is ready to start. I don’t know if he’ll ever be an NBA pont guard, unless he advances quickly over the summer. With looming questions over his work ethic and his lack of respect for Coach Brown, it’s likely best for everyone if DJ were able to switch teams. Unfortunately, his trade value is a level above the ball boy, and unless every point guard in the league retired he’s not going to start anywhere. While he has a high ceiling, his potential would likely be reached only in an up-tempo offense where the point guard wasn’t responsible for initiating the offense and there was a high level of help defense to cover his shortcomings. Were LeBron to sign with the Knicks, Augustin would fit perfectly in Mike D’Antoni’s system. However, despite all of this, I’d bet DJ will spend this coming season in Charlotte for Larry Brown. He is a Jordan Brand player, after all, and Michael Jordan is the only reason he wasn’t traded during the season. If he does indeed stay, and Felton leaves, you can expect another season of frustration.
DJ’s 2009-2010 regular season performance brought home a D+. He showed some flashes of where he should be, but that doesn’t excuse a pitiful season.
DJ’s 2010 Playoff showing is somehow worse. His numbers were bad enough, but he mainly played against the Magic’s second unit, which one would expect to inflate numbers. Since Felton got a D-, DJ earns a flat F. Failure. Pure, epic failure.
DJ does have significant potential. If he’s in the right system, he could even be a fringe All-Star, a la Mo Williams. If he was in the perfect situation, he could even be a mini-Allen Iverson. But I don’t see that happening. DJ’s potential grade is an A, but I don’t expect that to be realized here.
DJ Augustin’s overall grade: D, around a 73. He’s got a lot of work to do.