About five years ago, I hopped on a plane from Orlando to Houston and I noticed a familiar face on board. The guy happened to be current Houston Rockets point guard D.J. Augustin, who had just signed a four-year deal with the Magic.
I recognized him mostly from his days at the University of Texas, where I saw his Longhorns fall to Derrick Rose’s Memphis Tigers in the 2008 Elite Eight at Reliant Stadium. However, I think the thing I remember most about D.J. was his tenacity. The dude’s a fighter, and he proved that in his mini first season with the Rockets.
He was acquired in the pre-deadline deal (along with fellow D.J., D.J. Wilson) that sent P.J. Tucker to the Bucks.
Augustin wasted no time providing value to the Rockets. In just his fifth game with the team, Augustin dropped a then-season high 20 points in a win over the Timberwolves and was proving to be a sound veteran presence amongst a plethora of young guards.
Augustin’s contract is fully guaranteed for next season, so his chances of staying with the Rockets are high. However, if he stays, he’ll be part of a crowded backcourt with Kevin Porter Jr. and John Wall. There’s also the possibility the Rockets add a point guard in the draft or free agency.
Augustin is the textbook definition of a quality NBA veteran and he can still bring a lot of positives to the Rockets without being on the court playing heavy minutes. At 33, he’d be one of the oldest Rockets on the roster. The Rockets are his tenth NBA team, meaning he’s been apart of so many coaches and systems and has soaked up all this knowledge that can be passed down to KPJ and other young players at the position.
On the court, he isn’t as ball-dominant as he used to be and he can bend to work with more ball-dominant guards like Wall or KPJ.
Even in his small sample size, Augustin showed off intangibles that prove him to be a necessary part of next year’s squad.