View Full Version : Tbird draft analysis: D.J. Augustin

05-18-2008, 12:51 PM
Continuing on in my series of potential Pacer draft picks, the topic today is Texas Point Guard D.J Augustin. Like many of the selections outside the top 2 in this years draft, there is quite a bit of difference of opinion on the NBA potential of the smallish point guard from Texas.

I was told and taught long ago by my veteran coaching mentors that a key to building a successful team was something they called "purity in guards." What they meant was as much as it is nice to have players who can play multiple positions and have multiple skills, that you should not try and pigeonhole a player into a point guard position who really isn't one....."Don't play people out of position at point guard!" With Augustin, you'll have no such worries, you are getting a player with pure point guard skills and talents.

Augustin, of the court by all accounts, is everything you'd want in a professional player, particularly for a situation like Indiana. There have been numerous articles in national publications like ESPN.com (Pat Forde wrote a great article) during the college season about the high character as a student, player, leader on campus, and as a son that Augustin embodies. One article I remember extensively dealt with how close DJ is with his parents and extended family. One assistant coach of the Longhorns even compared Augustin and his family to the "Cosby Show."

As a student, D.J. was exemplary. His perfect 4.0 GPA won him the first team academic All American honor. To be able to achieve that while performing in a major college conference at a high level shouldn't be discounted.

Augustin is a native of New Orleans, and Hurricane Katrina displaced his family and had a large impact on his life. His family moved to Houston in the aftermath, and that led him, at least in part, to choose Texas over his assumed first choice to go to college, LSU.

Clearly, the off court D.J. Augustin cannot be disputed. He is personable, charismatic, smart, mature, intelligent, a good role model for the community and no doubt will be a fan favorite in Indianapolis, especially when comparing him to our current point guard.

The questions about Augustin are all on the floor, and consist mainly about his size, or to be more exact his lack of it. While listed someplaces at 6'0, he likely is closer to 5'10" or 5'11". Is he big enough to be a legitimate starter on a good team at the NBA level? Is he athletic enough to overcome his lack of size?

Clearly, Augustin has the elusive trait of "purity" of point guards. he distributes the ball well. He handles it very well against pressure, so well in fact that most teams in college chose to play off of him and not attempt to pressure him, as they feared his ability to blow by them. He finishes in the lane pretty well, showing good control of his body, but lacks the strength at this point to finish plays with alot of contact. His height is obviously a problem shooting over bigger defenders in the paint and on the perimeter even.

One thing I think Augustin does very well right away is to be able to run the signature NBA play, the "screen/roll". He judges this play very well, has the speed to turn the corner, and the creativity to pass the ball. He reads the defenders well all over the floor, and makes good decisions. You can trust Augustin with the ball as a coach to make try and make the best play possible. I suspect teams will go under screens early against him, and make him prove he can make the jump shot over people, but in this case his intelligence will help, because Augustin will normally only take smart intelligent shots.

I also think he will defend the ball well as a point guard defender coming up the floor. If asked, Augustin will have the ability to "turn" the opposing point guard as they come up the floor, burning valuable shot clock time and energy by our opponents, which will have an overall very positive effect on our overall team defensive efficiency when he is in the game.

However, his game also has weaknesses that will be exposed in the league, and perhaps even more so with Indiana. Augustine will no doubt be posted up by almost every team in the league, and will be at a serious matchup disadvantage inside. This will require creativity on the part of the coaching staff, who will likely have to double team his man when posting up. Guards like Sam Cassell and Mark Jackson in their prime used to kill and torture players like DJ in the paint, overpowering him with size and strength. In today's game, stronger point guards like Chauncey Billups, Andre Miller and others might have their way against the Texas dynamo.

Again, how effective Augustin ends up being might be determined by who he is surrounded with talent wise, and in the style and strategies employed by whatever team uses him.

I do not view Augustin as ready to start right away. He is too small and too weak to survive huge minutes in his first year or 2 in the league. But I think he can be effective early on as a change of pace point guard to play around 20-24 minutes per game in the right situation. To protect him and use him ideally, a team really needs another point guard who is bigger and stronger than Augustin, so he isnt exposed much against the bigger and tougher guards who will likely have their way with him.

The Pacers have experience with this type of situation. For years, we started the veteran Mark Jackson, and had the smaller Travis Best as his backup. By limiting each others minutes, the coaching staff was able to get the most out of each player. I'm only comparing Augustin to Best in as far as size goes....I viewed Best as a shooting guard in a small point guards body, while Augustin clearly acts and thinks like a point guard.

No one, including me, really wants to hear this, but an argument could be made that an almost ideal compliment to Augustin exists already on our roster in Jamal Tinsley. I wouldn't be completely shocked if acquiring Augustin in fact EXTENDS Tinsley's stay in Indianapolis instead of ENDING it. I'd almost expect the Pacers drafting Augustin at #11 means that they will keep Tinsley but attempt to drastically cut his minutes to around 24 per night, and in fact try to keep him healthy by sharing the job with Augustin, while they see if DJ develops to a point where he can handle bigger minutes down the road.

In a lot of ways, I think Augustin is a much better version of Travis Deiner. A lot of the same intangibles with way better upside and athletic ability, and also much younger. As I see it, Travis is the one who loses the most with an Augustin selection, because I see no way each of them could play, since they each would have the same weaknesses as the other does.....they don't "compliment" one another well at all.

Now, what are the chances that DJ ends up being as good as Tony Parker? I think that's unlikely but certainly possible. Parker has a much better supporting cast of course, but his way of being used early in his career is what I hope Augustin is taught early in his career. Remember, Parker had players like Avery Johnson and Tim Duncan helping him along, both great role models and teachers. Parker is not an extraordinary athlete, but has great basketball skill and his game has improved every year. I'm sure we'd all be excited if we drafted Augustin and he ended up like that.

However, Parker was much more developed at a younger age than Augustin, and was thrust in a much better situation. As I view DJ and his long term NBA impact, I see him having a career much less like Tony Parker and Chris Paul, but alot more like Raymond Felton of the Bobcats, TJ Ford of the Raptors (a fellow Texas Longhorn) or the player who I think he most closely is similar to, which is journeyman point guard Brevin Knight. Felton starts for a bad team, Knight has had a long career as a backup for numerous teams.

If the Pacers brass evaluates Augustin as Tony Parker lite, they'll probably draft him at 11 I think. If they evaluate him as I do as Brevin Knight, they probably should and will pass.

Of course, there are worse things than drafting a quick, defensive upgrade at point guard with great intangibles and a 25% chance of being a top 10 lead guard, especially when this position is your biggest weakness. But I think Augustin fails and flames out as an immediate starter, so if the Pacers draft him the drama will continue about how to maximize his development, and who to play him with as a tandem. Keping Tinsley actually makes sense with this pick......but can the Pacers from a PR standpoint really try to sell that idea? Can Jim O'Brien swallow it himself?

Drafting Augustin creates just as many questions as it answers I think.....but it will certainly add to an interesting summer. For the second player I've profiled in a row, pairing him with someone like Shaun Livingston, a bigger, slower point guard makes as a tandem at the position makes alot of sense, at least to me, from what I know now.

As always, the above is just my opinion.


05-18-2008, 02:01 PM
It's weird, but if the Pacers are out of the top 3 (which they more then likely will be) Augstin has been the guy I've sorta targeted in my mind. I feel his skill set will be our team well. Though having him and Diener give us no size at the PG positon, I feel they could still be a good duo.

I feel DJ has a better upside then another small Texas PG whom has done pretty well for himself aside from the injuries, and that's TJ... Ford of course.

I also feel that Texas players seem to come to the league ready. When you look at Ford, Aldridge, Durant, they've all contributed right away. Not saying it's b/c of Barnes or the program, but the style that Texas teams play help them to adjust to the NBA in my eyes.

the idea of Tinsley hanging around and playing limited minutes would be interesting, but I don't believe that'll happen, I think his time is done in Indiana, and if need be, the Pacers will just trade for another bigger PG if they want to bring augustin on slowly.

It's all going to depend on who's avaliable at #11, but I think Augustion has to be one of our top guys on the draft board at that slot

05-18-2008, 02:07 PM
Brevin Knight can't shoot the ball. He's a career 14% 3 point shoter. That's been the problem for him his entire career.Augustin has shown he can shoot it, so he won't be quite as limited in that respect.

I think you're looking at another Jameer Nelson. That would certainly make some people happy right off the bat, as that would be an immediate upgrade at the PG situation.

But just as with Orlando fans, you'd be looking for an upgrade in 2-3 years as his limitations would become obvious.

05-18-2008, 02:14 PM
I'm really hoping for no Augustin. We can't take a guy right now who's going to make the perimeter D worse.

05-18-2008, 02:21 PM
I'm really hoping for no Augustin. We can't take a guy right now who's going to make the perimeter D worse.

I just don't think the Pacers will pick this guy. It's too high a spot with too many other options available.

I think if one of Gallinari, Love (doubtful), Westbrook, Randolph or Gordon is available, they'll take one of those guys over Augustin.

05-18-2008, 03:18 PM
Very good read T-bird. I think Augustin will have his deficiencies at defense as you said. But hopefully he will be able to overcome them by playing smart and by pressuring the ball before the half court line. I think if down the road DJ can score 14-16 ppg, that's all you could really hope for. But as long as he's distributing 8-10 assists a game, then that more than makes up for it I think.

05-18-2008, 03:40 PM
But as long as he's distributing 8-10 assists a game, then that more than makes up for it I think.

We already have the an undersized spunky shooter of a floor general. That's not what's holding the team back.

05-18-2008, 03:47 PM
But as long as he's distributing 8-10 assists a game, then that more than makes up for it I think.

The past three seasons, there were a maximum of 5 players per year to average more than 8 assists a game. It's not an easy thing to do. If Augustin could do that, it would probably automatically make him a top 10 PG.

05-18-2008, 03:49 PM
Please, it isn't just Diener's defense that is holding him back.

05-18-2008, 03:54 PM
Tbird, excellent analysis of DJ. I believe he will be a good backup PG, but will always be such a liability defensively that he won't be a quality starter. I am also concerned that DJ can look for his offense to much at times. Sometimes to the detriment of his team. This concerns me even more because I believe he will have a much harder time getting off quality shots against bigger NBA opponents. I have visions of Tinsley forcing the action and getting rejected over and over.

I agree with you guard purity theory to a certain degree. Anyone drafting an Eric Gordon type player should think twice (three or four times if necessary) about putting the ball in his hands constantly. Where I disagree is with a player such as Westbrook. Westbrook has two traits that make me believe he has a better chance to become a starting quality PG in the NBA than DJ. 1) He will be able to guard the position and 2) he does not have the classic shooting guard mentality. I believe Westbrook plays within his abilities to such a degree he won’t be disruptive to his teams offense. I believe it has been proven that a team can be structured in such away that the PG does not have to dominate the ball and initiate the offense like a Mark Jackson or John Stockton.

I guess what I want to ask is who do you think has a better chance of being a quality starting PG in the NBA: Westbrook or Augustin? This team must address the PG position or it will just be treading water and I think it is a very real possibility one of the two will be pegged as our PG of the future by the Pacers front office. IMO, it is much easier to structure a team around a PG's offensive deficiencies than it is their defensive deficiencies. While I'd love to have a PG that didn't have a major weakness, I don't think that is going to occur unless the team gets much worse. Therefore I'm firmly on the Westbrook bandwagon.

05-18-2008, 03:54 PM
I really don't want this kid. Nothing I can really pinpoint for sure, just a gut feeling.

-- Steve --

05-18-2008, 04:10 PM
He seems okay but he's going to be a backup at best for the first few seasons. Pacers can't afford that; they need someone who can ball now. Somebody better than DJ will drop to us. He's a 20 ish pick, kind of where Rondo and Farmar went a couple years ago; the risk for him is at about the same level for me.

05-18-2008, 06:12 PM
Pick 11 is too high for Augustine, his size and lack of atheleticsm will limit him to an average NBA career. He reminds me of Earl Watson, a good PG, but not an elite one. Great value for the Pacers is drafting Love at 11 and trading back into the first round to get Augustine later.

05-18-2008, 06:19 PM
the two positions you should never reach on are pg and c...dj augustin at #11 would classify as a reach...

05-18-2008, 07:44 PM
I'm not too excited about the prospects at #11 so far (Love, Westbrook, Augustin).

05-18-2008, 07:54 PM
I'm not too excited about the prospects at #11 so far (Love, Westbrook, Augustin).

Well, that's what life's normally like at the #11 pick. You'll get a talented guy with some kind of shortcoming in one form or another.

05-18-2008, 09:02 PM
Not a fan.

05-18-2008, 10:42 PM
I wouldn't mind if we ended up with him. Sure, there's players I'd rather have, but I think he has a good chance of being a decent change-of-pace backup. TPTB are already on record that we aren't getting a starting point at 11, so one would think they'd view him as a backup and not try and make him our savior.

I don't know, I just feel we'd be better served taking someone who'll stick as a decent pro as opposed to gambling on someone who may be great but may just as easily flame out.

Lastly, character is a big plus here. We're certainly not in a position to discount that.

05-18-2008, 10:52 PM
ty lawson might even be a better prospect and he'll go late 1st/early 2nd...and if he's not better, then it isn't by much...

05-18-2008, 10:57 PM
ty lawson might even be a better prospect and he'll go late 1st/early 2nd...and if he's not better, then it isn't by much...

Yeah, once again, makes one wish we could trade down for a low-first and a high-second, if for no other reason that try and draft Kansas's backcourt. :devil:

But I don't really see it being a possibility.

05-18-2008, 11:44 PM
I wouldn't mind if we ended up with him. Sure, there's players I'd rather have, but I think he has a good chance of being a decent change-of-pace backup.
But we already have one of those w/ the ballboy. If that's as much as you think Augustin can be, pass. Go for the guy who you think can become a decent starter on a decent team. We don't need more backups... especially guys who might one day aspire to be backups.

If we're gonna dream, we should dream bigger than that.

05-19-2008, 12:06 AM
Deiner + Augustin > Murray + Deiner IMO

05-19-2008, 01:16 AM
Deiner + Augustin > Murray + Deiner IMO
Aim higher. We ought to be able to get a pretty solid starter via trade or signing... I just don't see why we need another backup.

05-19-2008, 04:39 AM
Deiner + Augustin > Murray + Deiner IMO

Well come on, that's not saying much really. I mean to use an 11th pick to get a player that's better then Murray ... it would be a total shame on the complete scouting staff and other decision makers on our franchise to not be able to draft a guy at that place who is not going to be better then Ronald (no disrespect for the man).

And since I think we have a pretty decent to good scouting staff, so I'm not expecting us to pick DJ there to be honest, because I do indeed think he's a reach there. Love, Gordon or Westbrook is who we should have in our aim IMO and if they are gone then I'm sure there will be others who might make more sense for us.

I think the Jameer Nelson comparison is a good one, though I expect DJ to be a little more limited though definitely not a bad player.


Mourning :cool:

05-19-2008, 08:36 AM
But we already have one of those w/ the ballboy. If that's as much as you think Augustin can be, pass. Go for the guy who you think can become a decent starter on a decent team. We don't need more backups... especially guys who might one day aspire to be backups.

If we're gonna dream, we should dream bigger than that.

Actually, no, I don't think Diener is a decent player. And in this draft, I don't see us getting a great player, dream or not.

05-19-2008, 09:53 AM
I do not think he fits JOB's system at all DJ Augustine cannot shoot the ball. I would draft Speights over him.

05-19-2008, 10:49 AM
And in this draft, I don't see us getting a great player, dream or not.
Did I say great? I said somebody who could be a decent starter on a decent team.

Do you think Augustin is that guy?

05-19-2008, 10:52 AM
Did I say great? I said somebody who could be a decent starter on a decent team.

Do you think Augustin is that guy?

I think he can be, but, like everybody else at 11, he could just as easily flame out. I don't know whether it was here or on RealGM, but I'm pretty much on record as thinking this is a bad draft class. I like Rose a lot, but, outside of him, Beasley's the only guy I'd be relatively confident in being a good pro.

I look at guys like Mayo and Bayless and Gordon, etc, and see the potential, but also see a really big chance for them to bust in a big, big way.

Everything's going to be a risk, and it's not only possible, but damn near guaranteed that people drafted after 11 will turn out better than our pick, regardless of who it is. On the whole, I like the purity of position, as TBird mentioned, and I like the package of Augustin. If all three (Westbrook, Love, & Augustin) were there at 11, I'm wouldn't commit to taking Augustin, but I'd be OK if that's who we ended up with out of this draft.

05-19-2008, 11:16 AM
Clarifying my pervious statement, I think Augustine will be better than Murray immediately, and then improve the next 3+ years into someone clearly better than Diener.

We can't turn down a double just because we want a triple or a home run. I think Augustine is the equivalent of a double for us looking for a new PG.

Major Cold
05-19-2008, 11:32 AM
Lets be realistic. No rookie is going to start off the bat with us anyway.

I really don't see Augustin as a Brevin Knight. I think Brevin has better court vision and better defensive speed. Where DJ is a better shooter and better penetrator.

05-19-2008, 11:38 AM
I'm really hoping for no Augustin. We can't take a guy right now who's going to make the perimeter D worse.
I agree. Rose showed that size/strength aren't just issues in the post, you get moved around and intimidated on the outside too and Rose did just that to DJ. Certainly Rose is the exception not the rule, but as far as small PGs go DJ lacked the blow-by speed and handles of Collison (UCLA). Collison is similar limited by size, but his greater quickness to the hole means that he could at least make those kinds of drives a go-to move.

DJ lacks a go-to move, one so good that he can count on it most of the time. He's more all-around good, but without size that could be a big problem for him in the NBA. It doesn't appear that he's going to do much of anything clearly better than most of the guys on the court.

The Diener comparison is pretty solid to me. He's better at the PnR, but I'm not sure if there's anything else on that list.

My one other big concern was his instance on forcing his shot in big games. Too often he just kept calling his own number on pull-up jumpers, long after his legs were gone from his shot. This is another way he's similar to Collison, except that Collison would call his own dribble instead, then drive with 3 seconds left for a layup (attempt).

Now TX didn't have tons of talent around him, but it wasn't barren either. Often he was making a poor decision to force his own action, IMO of course. I think he hurt them in some big games.

I love the kid, I really wish he had Westbrook's athletic ability...but if he did he'd be picked before Bayless instead of down at 11. This is why I like Chalmers. I think he has as similar high quality PnR, makes similar solid fundamental passes, but is taller/bigger than Bayless and more of a Fleming slasher type.

05-19-2008, 11:51 AM
Deiner + Augustin > Murray + Deiner IMO
I partially disagree. DJ clearly will try to be more of a pure PG than Flip ever has, but Flip has very high quality scoring go-to moves based on speed and handles that I haven't seen from DJ yet. Flip's a guy that when he calls his own number you often think "how is this guy not a big time starter someplace".

Then you see his defense and his often missing passing game and remember. ;) But the point is that he does have his "thing", his go-to impact aspect that he can use pretty effectively at times.

I mean back to Westbrook, yes I think he is Fred Jones, but I'm sick of that being some horrible statement. It's not. Fred COULD blow by guys going right and throw it down. Fred could hit the 3. Fred could defend pretty well and Fred had/has big time hops that allow him to get after loose rebounds in traffic and make the tough dunk.

I don't see that with DJ. I don't see the crazy passing or insane speed that makes you think that despite his limits he'll at least be able to punch back with something.

A guy at 11 will have flaws. What I want is a guy that has at least 1-2 things that are NBA caliber good and can be counted on. Reggie was terrible on defense, not great with the ball, but without the ball and deep shooting he was NBA caliber out of the gate.

Kegboy, stop teasing me with the KS backcourt talk. I don't even dare dream. Plus there is a gut instinct in me that can't imagine that working, that NCAA tandems never go forward to the NBA and both work...but that can't be true, there must be some. I just wonder if a tandem has ever gone to the same NBA team with at least modest success?