D.J. Augustin did not take well to Larry Brown's tutelage last season. As a former point guard, himself, Brown, apparently, has strong ideas about what a point guard should be, which works out well for those guys who aren't particularly efficient scorers, like Chauncey Billups and Raymond Felton, to name the most prominent Brown success stories. That said, what happens when a guy, like Augustin, comes to Brown as a dead eye shooter, but doesn't seem to have much feel for distributing the rock?
Last year, Augustin reduced his shooting all the way around. We saw this with our own eyes, and it was noted in many a game thread, but it still helps to have the data compiled in front of us. Take a look at his per-minute numbers and you'll notice that Augustin:
- Took fewer shots from all distances last year, compared to 08-09.
- Was less efficient at the rim (48.0FG% to 40.7FG%), from distance twos (43.0FG% to 33.0FG%), and from three (65.9eFG% to 49.0eFG%), but more efficient from mid-range (<10 feet: 31.0FG% to 45.5FG%, and 10-15 feet: 30.0FG% to 36.7FG%).
- Improved his assist rate and his turnover rate.
- Was a better defender, it appears, by his increased number of steals, charges taken, and blocks(!). Small sample size theatre, but still...
Taking a look at his Basketball Value page, the one thing that jumps out to me is that Augustin was much better in small lineups than he was with our "big" lineups. In other words, playing alongside Shaun Livingston, or with Boris Diaw at center, might not be a bad idea in sum, given that Augustin seems to prefer playing off the ball and those two guys can do some heavy lifting when it comes to creating offense. Of course, that also kind of depends on Augustin doing what Augustin does best, and not what Brown wants him to do. The more I see him play, the more I think Augustin's biggest problem is that he isn't 6-2, because then he'd be allowed to try being Ben Gordon. At 5-10 (or 5-11, if you're generous), I don't blame coaches for wanting to re-shape him into a true-er PG rather than jigger the roster to get a big PG next to him who can also guard SGs.
I'm going to predict a bench role for Augustin this year, because a healthy Livingston will appeal to Brown's defense-first instincts, and Brown will also be attracted to the idea of bringing offensive-minded players off the bench (Augustin, Diaw) late in the first quarter. So:
16 points/40 minutes
What say you?