Quick test. Without consulting your Internet search machine, and without scrolling down the page here, take a second to guess D.J. Augustin’s career stats. That’s D.J. Augustin, former No. 9 overall pick, and a player who has ended up on a lot of our fantasy teams at one point in time. D.J. Augustin, point guard and outside shooter extraordinaire!
Take a guess. Points, assists, steals and 3s if you’re feeling ambitious. (And yes, I am stalling here to create a little more buffer on the page before I write his stats.)
Ready? Here’s the answer:
9.4 ppg, 4.0 apg, 0.6 spg and 1.2 3s.
Not sure about you, but those numbers surprised me a little. I was definitely expecting something closer to the 12 and 5 range at the very least. (I polled a few friends, and some of them were right on the money, and others guessed closer to 15 and 7.) Granted, Augustin did spend most of last year (and most of 2009-10) as a backup, which has kept his numbers down, but it’s surprising that he has only had one year that really stands out at all: 2010-11, when he averaged 14.4 ppg, 6.1 apg, 0.7 spg and 1.4 3s for Charlotte.
Bottom line: For a well-known name, Augustin hasn’t been much of an asset in fantasy leagues during his five-plus years in the NBA. But he’s lined up for one of the better stretches of his career in the coming months.
The reasoning here isn’t complicated: Augustin is already getting to play plenty as part of a platoon (12.0 ppg, 7.0 apg, 0.7 spg and 1.4 3s in 30 minutes per game so far this month), and the player he’s platooning with (Kirk Hinrich) is a trade candidate who also happens to be pretty bad at staying healthy. And once Hinrich leaves the lineup – however it happens – there’s really nothing (no offense, Marquis Teague) to keep Augustin from getting a consistent 35 minutes per game.
And that’s where I should add that Augustin – despite his lack of size, and inconsistent outside shot – actually looks quite good as a playmaker in Chicago, passing well in pick-and-roll situations and getting to the rim pretty easily, from what I’ve seen lately. Never mind that he’s not all that good at finishing; the point is he’s a significant part of the offense when he’s on the floor. (Last three games: 15.3 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 1.0 spg, 1.7 3s.)
Not to say there’s monster upside here – his track record has helped establish that – but I do think Augustin has a chance for something in that 15 and 7 range with plenty of 3s going forward.
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In other hoops-related matters…
The current list of famous men named Courtney is not a very long one.
Based on my extensive research (about three minutes of googling), there’s:
Courtney Alexander, who had a brief run of NBA relevance in the early 00’s…
Former NFL wide receiver/kick returner Courtney Roby…
Television and film actor Courtney B. Vance, from The Hunt for Red October, Law and Order and a little film you may have heard of called Dangerous Minds…
and, Courtney Lee.
That’s pretty much the whole list – or at least for the convenience of this column it is. Yet despite being one of the four most famous men named Courtney on the planet(?!), Courtney Lee was a forgotten man in Boston, playing over 25 minutes just once this year for new coach Brad Stevens.
But all of that has changed since the move to Memphis. In his first five games for the Grizzlies, Lee has posted 13.6 ppg, 1.2 spg and 1.2 3s in 30 minutes per game, looking energized and aggressive after being seriously underused in Boston this year.
Of course, there are drawbacks. Despite great athleticism, Lee is not a good rebounder (2.8 rpg in Memphis; 2.6 rpg for his career). He’s also not a playmaker (1.0 apg in Memphis; 1.5 apg career). So if you’re using him, you can’t expect much outside of points, assists and 3s. There’s also the fact that he’s currently benefiting from Tony Allen’s hand injury, and the fact that he posted a complete dud on Wednesday (nine points and basically nothing else in 26 minutes).
With all of that said, and given how dynamic Lee has looked for a team that really needs his speed and athleticism in the lineup, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him continue playing around 30 minutes per game going forward. And as a result, we should see solid contributions in points, 3s and steals from one of the most celebrated male Courtneys of modern times.
Other Random Thoughts: Terrence Jones had a couple six-point duds earlier this month, but has been an absolute maniac in his last three games, posting 18.7 ppg, 12.3 rpg, 1.3 spg and 4.0 bpg. As long as he’s starting, I’d be willing to stay patient if (and probably when) he has some brief stretches of inconsistency in the future. … Another player I’d stay patient with right now even through some duds: James Johnson, who will drive you crazy with low point totals, then totally redeem himself by posting a line like he did on Wednesday (15 points, six boards, five assists, two steals, six blocks). Over his last 10 games, which include stat lines both good and terrible, Johnson is averaging 8.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.4 spg, 2.1 bpg and 0.5 3s, which makes him the No. 38 player on Basketball Monster’s 9-category leaderboard during that stretch. … Jimmy Butler hadn’t done much since being featured in this column last week, until Wednesday, when he posted a 21-7-6 line with two steals, two blocks and two 3s. Yes, it took him 60 minutes of playing time to compile those stats, but either way I’m optimistic that this should be the start of a good run for a player averaging 41 minutes in his last 10 games.