D.J. Augustin was never going to shoot 65 percent from behind the arc all season like he did during a five-game stretch in February. And although his regression was always going to come, the abruptness of it has been quite shocking.
Augustin has shot just 7-of-37 in his past four games. His magical shooting touch, which seemed to start the moment he inked his contract with the Chicago Bulls, has disappeared, and now is the time that Augustin’s audition for next year truly begins. Just as he is not as good a shooter as he seemed to be out of the gate, he is not nearly as bad as he has seemed over the past four games. He will probably be a decent shooter going forward, and no one should expect his jumper to completely disappear.
However, Augustin is going to have to adjust moving forward. He can no longer rely on step-back threes as a reliable form of offense. It may hurt the Bulls now that he isn’t shooting as well, but it will certainly help the team’s evaluation of him as a long-term piece.
Augustin must now find other ways to score and be effective. As a smaller guard, he has had mixed results when driving to the basket. Sometimes, Augustin goes into the lane out of control and ends up with a wild shot or pass at the last minute. This sort of play has been reigned in nicely by Tom Thibodeau and his coaching staff, and Augustin has had a better sense of when to force the action with the Bulls than earlier in his career.
An encouraging sign for the Bulls is that Augustin’s turnover rate has not went up since his shooting numbers declined. This would indicate that despite his struggles, Augustin has stayed within the confines of his game.
If Augustin can figure out a way to be effective when he is not shooting well, he will undoubtedly have a place in this league for years to come. The Bulls will monitor his play closely for the rest of the season, and will likely offer him another contract next year if he performs well. If the shooting woes start seeping into other parts of his game, however, Augustin will have a hard time catching on anywhere.
Donnie Kolakowski is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter @zenoknows