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What Chicago Bulls Need from Newcomer D.J. Augustin

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 14:  D.J. Augustin #14 of the Chicago Bulls moves against the Toronto Raptors at the United Center on December 14, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. The Raptors defeated the Bulls 99-77. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Mike B.Correspondent IDecember 29, 2013

If the Chicago Bulls want to reach the postseason, they'll need quality contributions from several players including their newest memberD.J. Augustin.  

Chicago signed the sixth-year pro on Dec. 13, a few days after he was waived by the Toronto Raptors.

In order to complete the huge seven-player trade that sent Rudy Gay from Toronto to the Sacramento Kings, the Raptors had to cut Augustin since the team had too many players on the roster.  

Augustin barely played during his 10-game stint in Toronto, averaging just 8.2 minutes per contest. However, he has emerged as a valuable role player for the Bulls, logging 30.8 minutes a night.

The former University of Texas star was brought in to provide depth at the point guard position. Starter Derrick Rose is out for the season after tearing his right meniscus, and backup Kirk Hinrich is one of Chicago’s most injury-prone players. Plus, youngster Marquis Teague cannot be counted on just yet.

Whether he’s starting or coming off the bench, Augustin has looked great during his tenure with the Bulls. What does the team need from him for the remainder of the season?


Scoring

During the 2010-11 season, the Bulls' lineup possessed one of the league's most unstoppable scorers in a 100-percent-healthy Derrick Rose. The explosive megastar averaged 25 points per game that year, picking up the MVP award.   

While Augustin isn't the next D-Rose—that would be nice, though—he can certainly help out in the scoring department. He is averaging a very respectable 10.5 points through eight games as a Bull.

Augustin is blessed with solid ball-handling skills to go along with speed and quickness, allowing him to get to the basket with ease at times.

Check out his fascinating crossover on Cleveland Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova:

Augustin looked like a young Tim Hardaway, shaking and baking the rookie defender before finishing with an easy layup. It's too bad he can't dunk, as that would've been the perfect ending to the play.

Speaking of that Cavs game, Augustin dropped 18 points, his biggest total since arriving in Chicago. It was an impressive performance, especially since it came against All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving.   

The Bulls, who currently rank dead-last in scoring (91.6 points per game), obviously need all the buckets they can get.       

 

Get His Teammates Involved

Dec 18, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Chicago Bulls point guard D.J. Augustin (14) passes the ball during the third quarter against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Spor

While Augustin has the ability to score, he can also pass the rock. He is dishing out 5.9 assists per game, which is the best average on the Bulls right now.

The 2008 lottery pick recorded 10 assists in the win over the Cavaliers, nine vs. the Houston Rockets and eight against the Orlando Magic.  

Augustin is doing an admirable job running the offense. If you didn't follow the Bulls, you probably would've guessed that he had been with the team for several years.  

He has a little bit in common with Nate Robinson, who helped save Chicago from falling off the face of the earth last season without the injured Rose. Both are short players (Augustin is 6'0" while Robinson stands 5'9") who can make a big impact despite playing for the minimum.

However, Augustin differs from Robinson in that he looks for his teammates often rather than jack up a boatload of shots.

The Bulls need Augustin to be a true point guard and make life easier for top-scorer Luol Deng as well as guys like Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler.    

   

Three-Point Shooting

Augustin isn't Steve Kerr or Tim Legler. In other words, he isn't one of the most accurate long-range shooters that the game has ever seen.

Yet, he is shooting a nice 40 percent from downtown as a member of the Bulls. That’s much better than his .091 percent during with the Raptors this season.

Augustin has knocked down at least two three-pointers in five of his eight games with Chicago, including his 4-of-6 effort against Cleveland and 3-of-7 vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Here is an extremely deep three from him during the Bulls’ big Christmas win over the Brooklyn Nets:

In your face, Deron Williams! Yes, that's a really old phrase, but oh well.

Chicago currently ranks 28th in three-point-shooting with a not-so-magnificent 32.6 percent. Only the Philadelphia 76ers, Detroit Pistons and Charlotte Bobcats own a worse percentage.

The Bulls do not possess an abundance of long-range threats on the roster outside of Mike Dunleavy. Hinrich, usually a decent three-point shooter, has hit only 29.6 percent of his attempts so far this season. 

Hopefully Augustine continues to shoot well from the outside which, of course, will stretch the defense.

Like scoring, the Bulls could definitely use help from three-point land.

 

All stats are from basketball-reference.com and accurate as of Dec. 29, 2013.

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