There have been many heroes for the Chicago Bulls in the 2013-14 NBA season. Joakim Noah is getting MVP consideration, Taj Gibson is the clear front-runner for the Sixth Man of the Year award and head coach Tom Thibodeau is receiving praise around the league for his ability to get the most out of his players. However, the one player who made all of this success possible for the Bulls is D.J. Augustin.
After Agustin was released by the Toronto Raptors on Dec. 9, his career seemed over. Selected ninth overall in the 2008 NBA Draft, Augustin saw a steady decline in production since leaving the Charlotte Bobcats for the Indiana Pacers in 2012. After failing to crack head coach Frank Vogel‘s rotation in Indiana, Augustin signed with the Raptors in hopes to find more playing time in 2013. However, that wouldn’t be the case. Augustin only appeared in ten games for the Raptors, shot 29 percent from the field and averaged a mere 2.1 points per game.
Meanwhile, the Bulls were going through struggles themselves with the season-ending injury to Derrick Rose in late November. Kirk Hinrich was once again thrust into the starting role and no true backup point guard was ever established. It seemed like fate that Augustin was let go by the Raptors, and the Bulls didn’t hesitate to swoop him up just four days after his release from Toronto.
Since then, Augustin has resurrected his career. And after the Bulls traded small forward Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers in early January, Augustin took over as the team’s leading scorer. He’s averaging over 16 points per game since the trade of Deng and helped the Bulls go 27-14 during that time. Augustin has also come up clutch late in games, scoring 37 percent of his points in fourth quarters.
He continued his Cinderella season recently against the Boston Celtics. On Mar. 30, Augustin dropped a career-high 33 points in Boston to lead the Bulls to a 107-102 victory. Needless to say, the Chicago would be lost without the services of Augustin. He was the final missing piece to the team’s puzzle after the Rose injury, and he needed the Bulls as much as they need him. It is safe to say that Augustin has finally found a home.