With Julyan Stone seemingly out of the mix, the Raptors have gone in another direction by reportedly signing D.J. Augustin to a one-year, $1.2 million contract.
Augustin had an awful 2012-13 season in Indiana, where he averaged just 4.7 points to go with 2.2 assists and 1.2 rebounds in just over 16 minutes per game. Quite literally, it will be hard for him to be any worse than he was last season.
But prior to his disastrous year with the Pacers, D.J. was at the very least a serviceable NBA point guard, and there is reason to believe he can be that guy again in limited minutes behind Kyle Lowry.
The one thing that sticks out when you dig into Augustin’s numbers is that he seems to be aware of where he should be attacking and getting his offence from. For example, while he had a poor shooting season last year on the surface (35 per cent from the field), 190 of his 294 field goal attemnpts came from behind the arc, which is what you want from a solid three-point shooter (career 37%) who isn’t shooting well from anywhere else.
Looking further back, the trend is even more prevalent in seasons where Augustin played more, as in addition to a large chunk of his shots coming from behind the arc, you’ll find that he roughly takes as many shots at the rim as he does from 3-9 feet, 10-15 feet and 16-23 feet combined. If he continues that trend in Toronto while remaining at least an average three-point shooter, the Raptors’ offence shouldn’t miss a beat when the reserves enter, with D.J. running the point surrounded by Steve Novak, Terrence Ross and even a good space creator (with his off-ball movement) like Landry Fields.
The obvious concern is Augustin’s non-existent defence at the point of attack, so the hope would have to be that the bench either simply outshoots the opposing bench or that the presence of Tyler Hansbrough and one of Jonas Valanciunas or Amir Johnson in the post can mask some of the reserves’ defensive deficiencies.
Overall, this signing doesn’t look like much of a boost on paper, and if Augustin doesn’t pick his play up, there’s more of a chance that he’ll be battling with Dwight Buycks for minutes than there is that he’ll be battling to eat into any of Lowry’s minutes. But at the end of the day, the Raptors have taken a cheap, low risk chance on a 25-year-old point guard who probably won’t play much more than 15 minutes per game, but one with starting experience under his belt in the event that Lowry has to miss time at some point.