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2014-2015 Thunder player grades: D.J. Augustin filled a much needed role

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His percentages aren't there, but they're coming.

Burning past defenders with ease.
Burning past defenders with ease.
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Full Name: Darryl Gerard Augustin Jr.

Nickname: "Nacho Libre"

Contract Status: Signed through next season for $3 Million.

Notable Factoid: College teammate of Kevin Durant.

Player History:

Augustin grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana. At Brother Marin High School, Augustin led his team to two state championships. However, due to the impact of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Augustin was forced to re-locate to Houston for his Senior Year. Augustin led the Texas Longhorns for two seasons, from 2006-2008. During his sophomore campaign, Augustin was named the top point guard in college basketball, as well as a concensus all-american.

In the 2008 NBA Draft, Augustin was selected 9th by the Charlotte Bobcats. Augustin's stay in Charlotte was up and down. The 08-09 season saw the Bobcats narrowly miss the playoffs. Augustin succeeded individually though, grabbing a place on the All-Rookie second team. In 09-10, the Bobcats made the only playoff appearance in franchise history, with Augustin capably contributing on the bench. D.J. won a starter's role in the 10-11 season, but the Bobcats narrowly missed the playoffs again. The final season of Augustin's rookie contract, 11-12, was a total disaster. Augustin missed about 18 games of the lockout-shortened 66 game season. Meanwhile, the Bobcats went 7-59.

2012 saw D.J. take his talents to Indiana, where he never really fit in. The Pacers were certainly successful, going to the Eastern Conference Finals. But Augustin shot 38% and averaged 0.7 assists per game during the playoffs. Augustin signed with Toronto in at the start of the 13-14 season. But D.J. never caught on as backup PG, and was shipped to Chicago after just 10 appearances. There, Augustin played heavy minutes on a successful team, averaging 14.9 points and 5.0 assists per game. It was, perhaps, the best season of his career.

In 2014, Augustin signed with the Pistons. There, he sometimes started for a mediocre Detroit team and put up decent numbers.  But Augustin's final 10 games with the Pistons before his trade to the Thunder were truly special. D.J. averaged 20 points and 8 assists while shooting 47% from the floor and 43% from three.

Pre-Season Expectations:

Upon joining the Thunder, Augustin was expected to fill the backup point guard role. Augustin would also be expected to play in crunch time lineups next to Russell Westbrook on occasion. In terms of role, Augustin is a very all-around point guard. DJ wasn't expected to replicate Reggie Jackson's scoring numbers. Rather, Augustin was expected to make smart decisions on both ends of the floor, improving overall team effectiveness. Augustin can also be looked to as a scorer whenever he's open or has a mismatch, as he's very skilled with the ball.

Regular Season Grade: B

There were definitely positive aspects to D.J.'s performance. Augustin's nearly 3/1 assist to turnover ratio stands out as his most positive stat. But Augustin's low shooting percentages really hurt his effectiveness on certain occasions. 35% from three isn't terrible, but 37% shooting overall is downright deplorable. Augustin's main problem in that respect is that he can't hit shots from the wings. According to Vorped.com, Augustin shot 44.9% from the center of the floor in 2014-2015. However, from the left and right wings, Augustin shot 34% and 33.7%, respectively.

Based on what I saw from D.J. this season, I think he's a great fit with the team. Augustin reminds me a lot of Eric Maynor in that he runs the Thunder's offense at a completely different pace than Russell Westbrook. Augustin's lineups can score in the half-court, and he really does well when distributing the ball in that setting. When Augustin plays in crunch-time lineups at shooting guard, he's a mixed bag. Sometimes D.J.'s speed will give him a serious advantage, and his ability to distribute the ball to to the scorers in the starting lineup has been essential. But other times, Augustin's small size was an issue when covering the floor on defense. Still, when used effectively, D.J. can answer the call.

Most memorable Game/Moment: 18 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists vs. Lakers. March 1st, 2015

This was Augustin's only start of the season for OKC, due to Westbrook's facial fracture. Augustin certainly made the most of it, leading a capable Thunder team to a comfortable victory over the struggling Lakers. The best part of the reel comes when D.J. hits a buzzer-beating three at the end of the second quarter, putting the Thunder up by 8 going into the half. That was a huge lead after OKC's bench allowed the Lakers to score 29 points in the second quarter.

Overall, D.J.'s performance on that night was fantastic. OKC had only 9 turnovers on the night, and Augustin finished with a +12 plus/minus rating.

Future Expectations:

At the age of 27, Augustin is nearing the peak of his career. D.J. certainly won't make any advances in terms of athleticism, but he will have a lot more time to get familiar with his teammates. Augustin was forced to play in lineups  that were quite volatile last year, as well as join the team mid-season. Getting some regular teammates to work with, as well as the return of college teammate KD, could certainly bring D.J.'s efficiency higher. Also, if Augustin ends up playing next to two excellent scorers in Morrow and Waiters, he'll certainly see improvements to his percentages. If Thabo Sefolosha can shoot well from three on this team, than D.J. Augustin certainly can.

Whether Augustin fits into the Thunder's plans long term remains to be seen. D.J. will always garner value in the open market due to solid showings with the Pistons and Bulls. It's going to be hard for OKC to afford someone who can command 3-5 Million per year, even with the cap set to inflate next season. Still, Augustin's status as KD bait may force the Thunder to keep him, whatever the cost.

What did you think of D.J. Augustin this season? Drop a comment and let us know!