D.J. Augustin was never able to find a role on the Toronto Raptors this season. He was signed during the summer to be Toronto’s back-up point guard, but he struggled through 10 games this season averaging 2.1 points and only 8.2 minutes per game.
Toronto decided to cut their losses when they obtained Greivis Vasquez and cut Augustin.
Toronto’s junk turned out to be Chicago’s treasure.
On December 13, 2013, he signed with the Chicago Bulls and he had season high in assists with 12 assists against the Charlotte Bobcats.
On January 22, 2014, Augustin scored a season high 27 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Heading into the game against Toronto tonight, Augustin was second on the Bulls in scoring (13.7 points) among active players. Luol Deng (19.0) is no longer with the team while Derrick Rose (15.9) is out for the remainder of the season due to an injury.
Dwane Casey was quick to attribute Augustin’s production due to an increase in playing time.
“He needs minutes to get in and get a rhythm the way he wants to play,” Casey explained. “He’s getting that in Chicago, while here, knock on wood, unless something happened to Kyle (Lowry) he wasn’t going to get that opportunity here to play that many minutes because Kyle was going to play big minutes.”
For Thom Thibodeau, adding Augustin filled a need for the Bulls while it helped give the young point guard another chance that he needed after things didn’t work out particularly well for him in Indiana or Toronto.
“We had a great need because we weren’t shooting the ball particularly well,” Thibodeau admitted. “I think part of it is they made the trade here (in Toronto) and they had more bodies and that created an opportunity for us where they had to cut somebody. It was good fortunate on our part and it also worked out pretty well for them. Obviously since the trade they have taken off so sometimes things work out for everyone.
“The one thing about DJ is he had already done it before in the NBA so we knew it was in him. Sometimes a player can get into a situation where they play a lot early on in their career and he hadn’t played as much recently because he got stuck in a back-up role. He had some good games for Indiana but he wasn’t playing a lot here (in Toronto). But, to his credit, he stayed ready and he took advantage of the opportunity (here in Chicago). I love him for us.”
When Sam Mitchell was coaching the Toronto Raptors he used to joke with the media that playing time is like oxygen for NBA players. It doesn’t matter how much your current contract is worth, it’s all about proving yourself right now so that you can ink another deal.
Well, for Augustin, he’s getting plenty of oxygen in Chicago and it’s working out well for him and the Bulls.