The Denver Nuggets were struggling with their point guard play throughout the first half of the 2015-16 NBA season. Emmanuel Mudiay was astoundingly bad, even for a rookie, Jameer Nelson started out fine but showed his age as the year went on, and Randy Foye did as well as anyone could expect.
Then the D.J. Augustin trade was made, and everything started getting better,
Augustin was wallowing on the bench for the Oklahoma City Thunder. The team featuring Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook decided they needed to get younger last season in the backcourt, so they drafted Cameron Payne with the 14th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Augustin started out the year as the main backup to Westbrook, but he was beginning to be phased out of the rotation by midseason.
When the trade to Denver for Randy Foye happened, Nuggets fans didn't really know what to expect from Augustin. What the team got back for his first and only 28 games this season was incredible.
|2015-16 Season (per game)||Points||Assists||Rebounds||Steals||FG%||3-PT%||FT%|
|Oklahoma City (34 games)||4.2||1.9||1.3||0.4||.380||.393||.765|
|Denver (28 games)||11.6||4.7||1.9||0.9||.445||.411||.819|
In every category, Augustin improved in Denver over his time in Oklahoma City. The Nuggets needed it, and it also coincided with an improved Nuggets team and Emmanuel Mudiay.
At this time, we will be saying goodbye to D.J. who just signed with the Orlando Magic, according to The Vertical.
Free agent guard DJ Augustin has reached agreement on a deal with Orlando, league source tells @TheVertical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 1, 2016
Orlando is a great landing spot for D.J. because of their young team and need for a veteran with a jump shot to complement Elfrid Payton. Augustin is the far superior offensive player at this time, and it's possible that coach Frank Vogel, general manager Rob Henigan, and other front office executives knew they needed a player to push Payton.
Augustin may very well surpass Payton on the depth chart if the team goal is wins. In his last 28 games in Denver, he posted a .139 win shares per 48, an above average number for sure.
Nuggets fans need not be sour about his departure though. With Emmanuel Mudiay and Jamal Murray needing minutes at point guard in order to develop, a player like Augustin is not necessary. He's 28 year old and in his prime, but all the Nuggets need now is a veteran mentor. It just so happens that one is currently under contract in the form of Jameer Nelson at a very reasonable price tag.
Contract terms have not been released as of now, but it was also unlikely Augustin would be back due to the limited number of roster spots. Mudiay, Murray, Nelson, Gary Harris, Will Barton, and Malik Beasley are all under contract at the guard positions. It was always far more likely for free agents in the frontcourt to be signed, not the backcourt.
Anyway, please wish D.J. the best of luck Nuggets nation. He earned this payday through excellent play in the second half of the season with the Nuggets organization, and I'm proud of this team for giving him that opportunity.