In his last two stops as an Indiana Pacer and Toronto Raptor, point guard D.J. Augustin has been seemingly irrelevant. Really, he hasn’t had an impressive season since his second-to-last year with the Charlotte Bobcats during the 2010-11 campaign. And when the Raptors decided to cut him after making the trade to get rid of Rudy Gay to the Sacremento Kings, it looked like Augustin’s career was all but over.
However, the Chicago Bulls decided to give him a shot with the only trustworthy point guard on the roster being Kirk Hinrich while Marquis Teague continued to disappoint.
Honestly, I was very skeptical of the move, but like most Bulls fans, I thought, “why not?” As it turns out, Augustin’s addition has made a huge difference, so much so that I’d say he’s made the Bulls competitive again.
Now, don’t get me wrong, he’s far from the best player on their roster. However, since Derrick Rose went down, he’s the only guy on their entire roster with skills to take the opposition off the dribble and make something happen. Obviously, he’s not a potent and effective scorer on a consistent enough basis to be considered a great point guard in the NBA, but he’s sufficiently filling a role the Bulls desperately needed filled.
Being able to use him as a backup to Hinrich or even play the two alongside each other in the backcourt has given the Bulls some speed, ball-handling and inside-out game they were lacking. This has opened up the offense more, and we’ve seen it as Augustin has gotten comfortable with the guys in that locker room, wins have started to come.
In the last eight games, in which Augustin has averaged right around 30 minutes per contest during, the Bulls are 6-2. Augustin has averaged 11.3 points and 6.3 assists in those games, and in the six wins specifically, he’s had a major hand putting up 12.2 points and 7.3 assists per.
Since bringing in Augustin, the Bulls have gone from the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference to the sixth. And at 15-18, they’re actually only 2.5 games out of the third seed — yes, that is a very sad truth in this pathetic conference.
Granted, they’re still nowhere near being able to compete with the top two teams in the East or like the top six in the West, but they’re finally able to beat teams they’re supposed to — and the biggest reason for that ability is, rather shockingly, D.J. Augustin.
So, unless the Bulls’ front office is actually in full-on tanking mode — which I’m not necessarily against as they are in no way, shape or form a championship-caliber team — then I’d say that the Bulls at their current rate are indeed playoff-bound. It may only last a round or two at most, but they’ll definitely get there barring any more significant trades or injuries.
In the meantime, the Bulls have eight winnable games in a row, including one against the Milwaukee Bucks in about an hour and a half. Let’s see if they can keep this going and make Chicago basketball somewhat interesting to watch like the past couple weeks.