I'm going to be frank here, I've never been a huge fan of D.J. Augustin. As a lottery pick, Augustin was pegged as the point guard of the future in Charlotte, the team attempted to build around him, and it obviously was a failure on essentially every level. Augustin did not perform well.
He's not a bad player, he's just mediocre. He's not a starter. Even if he had been retained by the Bobcats this year, he likely would have eventually played second fiddle to up-and-coming Kemba Walker.
Instead the Bobcats did something fairly shocking—something I certainly didn't see coming. They dropped Augustin's offer (allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent), and signed Ramon Sessions to a two-year deal.
Wait, what? The Bobcats did something that made sense?
It seems to be a common theme this offseason.
I've said many times that letting Augustin go was the right option—they could have tried a sign and trade, but even that would have resulted in minimal return. Letting him walk was the best option, and picking up Ramon Sessions was not just a good move, it was a great move.
On the surface, statistically Augustin and Sessions are similar. Not huge scorers, but for different reasons.
Sessions can shoot the basketball, flat out. He has a career FG% of .449 (including a career high of .479 with the Lakers last season), and he has a career 3PT% of .333, but over the past two seasons he has averaged well over .400 from behind the arc.
Is Ramon Sessions an upgrade over D.J. Augustin?
Augustin, during most of his career in Charlotte seemed to afraid to take shots. He was a pass first point guard (which is exactly what this team needs), but he did it to the point where offenses knew he wasn't going to be taking any shots. He shot only .376 from the field last season, and only has a career FG% of .407. He doesn't have the confidence to take shots, so he didn't. He became a one-dimensional player, and it impacted the team negatively.
Sessions has been overshadowed by bigger talents on his team, but when given the ball, he can become the man of the night. He holds career highs of 44 points and 25 assists, he is a decent rebounder for a PG, he plays adequate defense and he can dish the ball as well as Augustin could.
When you go and look at their career statistics, you're going to see two players who have similar numbers in PPG, APG, SPG, etc. But when you look at game tape, highlight videos, and you read about intangibles, Sessions is the man. He is a massive upgrade over Augustin, who quite frankly wanted no part of Charlotte basketball anymore, and it showed in his play.
There will be discussion as to whether or not this was a good move for the Bobcats. In my mind, the simple answer is yes. Sessions and Kemba are going to be splitting time at PG, and that makes for a formidable 2-deep at that position, similar to Gerald Henderson and Ben Gordon at SG, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeffery Taylor at SF.
This could also be another ploy to attempt to lure Antawn Jamison to Charlotte as well. The Bobcats are one of the two main favorites (the other being Golden State) to land Jamison, and having Sessions, a former teammate and friend of Jamison on the team might be the chip that finally lands Jamison.
Antawn Jamison isn't the longterm solution for the Bobcats at PF, and Sessions isn't the long term solution for the Bobcats at PG. But the signing of Sessions to a low-risk two-year deal is a win for the Bobcats, and it has made the team better.
There will likely be a lot of fuss about how the Bobcats were supposed to build through the draft, and letting one of their former draft picks go is counterproductive to that mantra. That is simply nonsense. D.J. Augustin has underperformed ever since he came to Charlotte, he didn't have a strong work ethic, and he just wasn't good enough to be a starter for this team.
The addition of Sessions is a great one, and with a few more moves this offseason, the Bobcats are going to be heading in the right direction. A perfect mix of young guys finding their rhythm in the league and vets to help them on their way. Charlotte may only be a couple of years away from contending for a playoff spot.
At least, until Michael Jordan decides to trade everyone and start over again.