D.J. Augustin Reinstated as Backup Point Guard

By Jay Neal
DJ Augustin
Brace Hemmelgarn – USA TODAY Sports

After signing him to a one-year contract in the summer, the Indiana Pacers hoped D.J. Augustin to be an upgrade to the bench that struggled in the 2012 NBA Playoffs. Those hopes were quickly vanished 21 games into this season when Augustin was demoted to third-string point guard in favor of Ben Hansbrough.

After putting in extra time on the practice court and showing better signs in limited playing time, Augustin has earned his backup point guard spot back and will be in the lineup with the Pacers host the Phoenix Suns tonight.

Augustin barely looked like an NBA-quality player during the first quarter of the season. He looked unsure of how to play with his new teammates, barely used his quickness to penetrate into the lane & collapse opposing defenses and had some of the worst body language on the court. It was almost as if he didn’t want to play and the numbers backed it up. He was averaging a career lows in in points per game (3.2), field goal percentage (.266) and three point percentage (.213) before the demotion.

“It was tough,” Augustin told Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star. “We all go through things and at this level you can’t let it get you down, you have to stay ready, stay professional and that’s what I tried to do.”

Augustin got some playing time last week in the 20-point blowout over the Utah Jazz and looked more comfortable and confident in his ability and with his teammates. He scored seven points and had an assist while playing the entire fourth quarter. He also played in the second half in the Pacers’ 22-point comeback victory over the New Orleans Hornets.

“At this level you can’t be scared to make certain passes and you obviously can’t be scared to shoot the ball,” Augustin said. “I have to be more aggressive.”

Follow Jay Neal on Twitter @JayNilla

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