When DJ Augustin was signed late this season by the Lakers, few expected him to have any sort of impact on the season, let alone one as positive as he did over the team’s final 21 games. Augustin stepped in and provided the team a consistent shooting threat from the point guard position, a luxury the team didn’t have at any point of the season.
It came despite Augustin being in his 34 years old in his 14th season and coming off a multi-week layoff after being waived by the Rockets. His previous time under then-head coach Frank Vogel allowed him to contribute from day one and his positive experience overall has him interested in a reunion this summer.
“Man, this is a business. I’ve been playing for 14 years in the league,” Augustin said in his exit interview. “I know how this goes. Hopefully we do have some type of conversation this summer, but at this point you never know. You know Coach Vogel was let go today, which was kind of a big loss for our organization and guys that knew him. So that’s one thing that happened, and there’s probably other things that may happen. And those things are probably more important than I am. So when that time comes, hopefully something is there. I’m definitely open to it. But nothing was said and nothing was expected.”
In his 21 games, Augustin averaged 5.3 points but shot 42.6% from the 3-point line on 3.2 attempts per game. Only Avery Bradley shot better from the 3-point line in that span, but Augustin’s 68 attempts were double that of Bradley’s and fourth on the team over the last 21 games.
The advanced numbers didn’t quite bear out all that positive an impact though. Augustin finished with a net rating of -6.6 with the team and in his 21 games, the Lakers were 2.3 points per 100 possessions better with him off the court. As solid as Augustin may have been, his limitations defensively remained and hurt the Lakers.
No matter his impact on the court, it was the impact him joining the Lakers had off the court that reset his mindset that had the most lasting effect. After being waived by the Rockets on Feb. 10, Augustin turned down opportunities with other teams before signing with the Lakers at the beginning of March.
“That’s something I did tell Rob and Kurt when I was up there,” Augustin said. “I thanked them because when the Rockets did waive me, I was for about three weeks. I had other teams calling me but at that point, I was just like, I wouldn’t say done but I was mentally kind of checked out just because of everything that went on in Houston and things like that. But by me coming here, it flipped the switch for me to get back into that basketball mindset and NBA player mindset that I loved for all these years. It definitely put me in a place where I do want to play if things work out. Because at the point (I was) before I came here, I wasn’t at that point so I definitely appreciate them and the organization for doing that for me mentally.”
In the right role, Augustin would still have value for a team, Lakers included. His shooting is valuable, but more as a third point guard in spot duty than someone playing 17.8 minutes per game, as he did with the Lakers.
Whether that’s a role that interests him remains to be seen, but Augustin did prove he still has something left to give to teams this deep into his career, an impressive feat in year 14.