FanPost

The Free Agent Files: D.J. Augustin

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

As we roll on towards free agency, we'll take a look at another player that is on the market and might be on the Nets' radar. The player we'll be looking next is D.J. Augustin of the Indiana Pacers.

Augustin was drafted ninth overall by the Charlotte Bobcats in the 2008 NBA Draft. He didn't make a name for himself like fellow point guards Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, and George Hill, but he played at a league average during his time in Charlotte. He signed with the Pacers for 1 year and $3.5 million.

The 2012-2013 season

How was Augustin this season? Let's take a look:

Metric

D.J. Augustin

Point Guards in 2012-2013

Games Played

76 46

Minutes per game

16.1 21

True Shooting percentage

52.7 53

Assist rate

29.53 25.79

Turnover rate

16.8 12.47

Usage rate

15.1 20.02

Rebound rate

4.1 5.2

PER

11 15

Win Shares per 48

.112 .100

When we look at Augustin's individual performance, it doesn't look good. His True Shooting percentage was only 52.7 percent, and I think we can point to his lack of success near the basket as major reason why. He only took 69 field goal attempts inside of eight feet, but he shot a horrific 37.3 percent inside of eight feet. He was even worst from the midrange, hitting only 28.1 percent of his attempts from that distance.

Job One for a point guard is to run the offense and make sure they don't take steps backwards when you're on the court. Unfortunately for Augustin, he wasn't able to do that. On the season, Indiana had an offensive rating of 101.6, good for 19th best in the league. When Augustin was manning the point, the offense was even worse, as they had an offensive rating of 97.3. In comparison, Washington ,the league's worst offense this year, had an offensive rating of 97.8 (and we have to keep in mind that John Wall missed 33 games this year due to preseason surgery). This looks even worse considering that he spent the majority of his time on the court playing with Indiana's three best players: Paul George, Roy Hibbert, and David West. I think there are two major reasons for this decline. The first is ball control. Simply put, you can't score if you don't maintain possession of the ball. And for a time that plays as slowly as Indiana (90 possessions per game, sixth lowest in the league)m it becomes even more important. Indiana had the third highest team turnover rate this year, coughing it up 14.3 percent of the time. With Augustin in the game, that problem got even worse. With Augustin running the point, eighteen percent of Pacer possessions ended with a turnover.

The second possible reason for Indiana's struggles is their (lack of) success from the field when Augustin was on the court. Here's how Indiana shot from the field overall, with Augustin in the game, and with him on the bench:

Shooting area

Indiana - Overall

Indiana with D.J. Augustin on court

Indiana with D.J. Augustin off court

Restricted area

59%

54.4%

61%

In the paint (Non-restricted area)

38.5%

37.2%

38.9%

Midrange

37.4%

34.7%

38.6%

Left corner three

34%

37.1%

32.3%

Right corner three

38.9%

35.1%

40.8%

Above the break three

37.8%

33.7%

35.3%

Defenses didn't have to worry about Indiana's perimeter offense with Augustin roaming about, so they were able to focus more on Indiana's inside attack and disrupt their attempts.

Jared Wade of Eight Points, Nine Seconds had this to say about Augustin's play on offense in early December:

But Augustin is just tiny and he has lacked the ability to either create better angles to pass the ball or sneak through confined spaces to exploit the over-aggressive defenders. He simply gets swallowed up all too often and spends precious ticks on the shot clock just dribbling away from what should be non-threatening defense just to see what exactly is happening in front of him.

The result has been missed opportunities, truncated possessions and a lot of bad shots taken late in the shot clock. Nothing fluid can happen in terms of ball or player movement when the process of initiating the offense becomes as difficult, time consuming and out of rhythm as it often has been with Augustin on the floor.

Augustin is a pretty small guard, standing at 6'0 and weighing lbs. And although size isn't that big of a determinant in how a player defends, he wasn't successful on that side of the ball. Opposing point guards were able to put up a PER of 16.6 and an effective field goal of 51.2 percent while Augustin was defending them. When we zoom out and look at Indiana's defense (Number 1 in defensive efficiency and opponent field goal percentage), they took a step back (relatively speaking) when Augustin was in the game. With Augustin, Indiana allowed 98.4 points per 100 possessions, a shade above Indy's marvelous overall average of 96.6. Here's a breakdown of Augustin's breakdowns. Of course, team defense is heavily influenced by coaching and personnel, so it's going to be very interesting to see what Jason Kidd and friends have in store for the Nets.

How does he compare to the person he would replace?

That person would be C.J. Watson. Let's see how the two backups compare:

Metric

D.J. Augustin

C.J. Watson

Games Played

76 81

Minutes per game

16.1 19

True Shooting percentage

52.7 54.4

Assist rate

29.53 22.18

Turnover rate

16.8 9.39

Usage rate

15.1 17.17

Rebound rate

4.1 5.6

PER

11 13.9

Win Shares per 48

.112 .120

We can see that Augustin isn't the shooter Watson is. Watson was the team's resident marksman from deep, shooting a team high 41 percent from three point range. And if we wanna be more specific, he shot above 47 percent from both of the corners. Watson didn't shoot well near the basket, but his value comes from his solid three point shooting so I wouldn't worry too much about it.

I had thought the Nets were horrendously bad with Watson on the floor, but my memory was off. The Nets maintained their same level of defense whether Watson was on the court or not. Now granted, it wasn't anything spectacular, but the same nonetheless.

Would he help the Nets?

Through out his career, Augustin hasn't shown an ability to be a consistently good shooter or individual defender. He probably won't cost that much, but if I were the Nets management team, I'd look elsewhere.

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