As the 2013-14 reaches its midpoint, the positives have been few and far between for the Chicago Bulls. Superstar point guard Derrick Rose fell to an injury after a much-anticipated return, Chicago is struggling to maintain an above .500 record and fan favorite small forward Luol Deng has been traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
But if there’s one positive to be taken from the season so far it was when the Bulls’ front office signed D.J. Augustin.
It is without argument that Augustin has had a great year. Signed in December, Augustin has managed 10.7 points a game and 4.6 assists this season, putting up great numbers for a bench player. Currently he is placed as the backup point guard to Kirk Hinrich, but whether this is a good place for him or not is debatable.
Hinrich is starting to show his age. When selected in the 2003 NBA Draft by Chicago with the seventh pick, Hinrich provided a strong presence on the floor. He was one of the best point guards in the Eastern Conference. Since he was re-signed in 2012, however, a lot has changed. Injuries have drastically hampered his playing style.
Yes, Hinrich does have an extensive background with the team, and as a point guard a good rapport with your teammates is one of the best traits to have. But Augustin’s talent and sharp athleticism is nothing to dismiss.
For those hesitant to hand over the reigns to Augustin, consider this. Augustin is shooting 42 percent from the field, and he seems to be getting better as time goes on. In January, Augustin had three games where he had at least 27 points, providing Chicago a much-needed offensive presence. If he were to have command on the floor in a regular slot he has the possibility to be performing even better.
When Rose comes back this fall Augustin would make a great backup. But for right now Augustin should helm the team in order to gain the necessary experience he needs in order to be a strong contributor in the years to come.
As sad as it is to say, it is unlikely the Bulls are going to go far in the playoffs, so the team should be experimenting with its roster right now as a way to prepare for the future. Placing Augustin in a starting role should be one of the things they fool around with.