Previous ArticlesDerrick Rose likely would have been eating beignets
Augustin out to prove himself with the Bulls
by Adam Fluck
Posted on Dec 13
There are a few reasons veteran guard D.J. Augustin is happy he ended up with the Chicago Bulls. One of them is so he doesn’t have to face the team he’s now on.
“I always hated playing against the Bulls,” Augustin said on Friday morning as he made his way with Assistant General Manager Randy Brown to Milwaukee to join the team. “They play hard for the whole game and their defense is always on point. They’ve got a great group of players, guys who can score in the post or from the outside. I always hated playing against the Bulls, so it will be fun to play with them.”
Augustin, who has played in 368 regular season games (147 starts) and averaged 9.4 points, 3.9 assists and 1.8 rebounds in 24.1 minutes over five-plus NBA seasons, was informed by his agent that there was interest from other teams this week. But they both agreed Chicago presented the best opportunity for him.
“I’m just coming in trying to help the team as much as possible,” said Augustin. “Whatever the team or coach needs me to do to help us win, that’s what I want to do. I’ll play hard. That’s the type of team that that team is, a hardworking team and that’s what I’m coming here to do.”
As of Friday morning, Augustin had not yet spoken with Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau about his role. But he hoped to catch up with him in Milwaukee, where Chicago plays before returning home to host the Toronto Raptors on Saturday.
“He’s very intense,” said Augustin of Thibodeau. “I’ve watched him on TV and he’s always standing up coaching. That’s what I need. I’m going in with an open mind, prepared to do whatever the coach and the team needs me to do.”
Augustin is very familiar with the Bulls roster and he’s looking forward to sharing the backcourt with a guard like Jimmy Butler, as well as the floor with Luol Deng and big men like Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah.
“They’re all really smart veteran players,” said Augustin of that group. “They make the game easier for their teammates on the floor. Being out there with them will make the game easier for me and it will be exciting.”
Selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, Augustin spent his first four NBA seasons with the Charlotte Bobcats. His most productive season was in 2010-11, when he started all 82 games and averaged 14.4 points and 6.1 assists in 33.6 minutes.
Augustin joined the Indiana Pacers in 2012, but saw his playing time go drastically down, starting only five times and averaging 16.1 minutes. This season with the Toronto Raptors brought more of the same. Needless to say, the former consensus first team All-American as a sophomore at Texas is hoping to get back to the level in which he knows he can perform.
“I just need to play with confidence, go out there and play free,” said Augustin of what that will take. “I don’t want to think too much while I’m out there. If I’m relaxed and I let the game come to me, that’s the biggest key.”
Getting an opportunity to play, which could happen in Chicago given the rash of injuries that the team has dealt with this season, will also help.
“When you play minutes, you get a feel for the game and a rhythm for the game and it helps out with your confidence,” said Augustin.