D.J. Augustin Struggles Mightily in Chicago Bulls Debut

D.J. Augustin Chicago Bulls
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Only hours before tip-off in Milwaukee, the Chicago Bulls signed D.J. Augustin, a former point guard for the Charlotte Bobcats, Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors, to a contract.

This had been rumored for the past few days since Augustin was released by Toronto, especially considering the Bulls only depth behind Kirk Hinrich and Jimmy Butler at the guard position were Marquis Teague — a guy who cannot score at all really — and perhaps Tony Snell, though, he’s more of a small forward-two-guard combo.

Last night against the Bucks, Augustin logged just under 12 minutes. He ended up with one assist, one rebound and one steal. He went 0-for-3 from the field, and overall, was just as overwhelming as he was in Toronto this season.

However, now that he’s in Chicago, he’s got a lot more opportunity to get some playing time and perhaps find a rhythm at some point. He’s a guy who has been, throughout his career, able to find a shot off the dribble. Not many guys on the Bulls’ roster can currently do that, so there’s some value there. Of course, that doesn’t mean he’s necessarily good at it, considering his 39.9 career shooting percentage. But he does shoot well from deep, converting at a 36.7 career clip; and that’s not too shabby.

What Augustin does bring is some experience to a backcourt which really only has Hinrich with more than a full season of strong playing time under his belt. Butler received a lot of playing time last year, but that’s been his only season averaging more than 10 minutes per contest.

Augustin, 6-foot, 183 pounds, was the ninth overall selection in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Bobcats. He eventually worked his way up to being  a starter, and started all 82 games in the 2010-11 season, which was the best year of his career by far. He shot 41.6 percent from the field, averaging 14.4 points and 6.1 assists in about 33 minutes per game.

Despite playing well with the increased playing time in Charlotte, when he went to Indiana after the 2011-12 campaign, he struggled with limited minutes at only 16 a game. His shooting percentage dropped to only 35, which is a little worrisome, especially considering he’ll probably only get around 15-20 minutes per game with the Bulls. But there is hope.

If the former Texas Longhorn can just run the offense and take smart shots when he gets the chance, much like he did in his best season with the Bobcats a few years ago, he can provide a steady presence off the bench from the guard position which would be huge for the Bulls.

So, even though he struggled in his first game, give him a bit of time. He gets another chance to prove himself tonight at 7 p.m. CT at the United Center, and coincidentally against the team up in Canada he was just released from.

Brian Neal is an NFL and NBA contributor for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @brianneal23, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google+.

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