For the past two years the Bulls have engaged in compensatory strategies to replace the loss – temporary or worse – of their franchise player. When Derrick Rose tore his knee in Game 1 of the NBA Playoffs in 2012, the PG position has been a high-profile revolving door that’s ushered in and out the likes of Kirk Hinrich, Marquis Teague, Nate Robinson, and now DJ Augustin. Certainly none of these players have effectively filled the gap for the MVP-caliber player that Rose is, but – and this is despite all reasonable expectations to the contrary – they’ve kept the Bulls competitive.
The Bulls are currently one game over five hundred in the win-loss percentage and have no shot at doing any damage in the Eastern Conference. Not only that, but they’ve started unloading players that were thought to be cogs in their machined quest for a championship in the post-Jordan Era.
DJ Augustin was Charlotte’s first-round pick out of Texas a few years ago. He had tremendous upside and was under the tutelage of Larry Brown, who coached Allen Iverson in Philadelphia, Chauncey Billups in Detroit, and Mark Jackson in Indiana. Now while Augustin didn’t spend a lot of time around Brown it’s clear that Augustin must’ve picked up a few pointers from his former coach.
DJ Augustin’s legacy hasn’t been as a big-time scorer, but averaging 10 points and 4 assists suggests he could be very serviceable if given the right surrounding cast. That cast seems to be the Chicago Bulls. Over the 23 games that Augustin has started he has nearly matched or bettered his career stats in every major category. Over the past five games he’s shattered them with numbers that are more on par with Deron Williams or Chris Paul. In his last five matchups he’s scored 25 points three times, and averaged more than 5 assists a night. Perhaps most important to the stat sheet is that he rarely turns the ball over, with less than two a game. Augustin only averaged 20 minutes a night throughout his career, but with Chicago he’s getting the minutes and proving that he deserves the greater playing time.
The Bulls are a PG-centric team, and Augustin may allow the front office the flexibility to make some moves to support him and keep the Bulls in the playoff picture.