D.J. Augustin became one of the many mid-season additions the Los Angeles Lakers made in 2021-22, as they looked to make a strong push in the second part of the season.
L.A. quickly realized their lineups lack balance between offense and defense, and that they wouldn’t solve the issue with the tools they had on the roster. After many experiments that saw Darren Collison and Isaiah Thomas return to the league with the Lakers, they eventually signed a proven sharpshooter in Augustin following his buyout agreement with the Houston Rockets.
The 34-year-old veteran provided the Lakers with exactly what they could expect from him. Augustin shot a sizzling 42.6% from beyond the arc on 3.2 attempts per game, averaging 5.3 points and 1.6 assists in 21 games for the Purple and Gold.
However, his input didn’t change things for the struggling Lakers. They won just six games during his time in L.A. and failed to qualify for the Play-In Tournament. Despite the disappointing outcome, Augustin said he was glad he could spend a couple of months with the Lakers after a frustrating end to his stay in Houston.
When it comes to on-court performance, his 20 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers in late March stand out. Augustin went 6-for-6 from downtown, becoming only the fourth Laker ever to make at least six triples while shooting 100% for 3.
However, the true highlight of the guard’s time in L.A. is how it impacted his well-being. Augustin said that he had spent three weeks at home after playing little for Houston and then being waived by the Rockets, making him feel “mentally checked out” in regards to his basketball career — and pushing him toward to retirement.
“But me coming here, it kind of flipped a switch for me to get back into that basketball mindset and NBA player mindset that I loved for all these years,” he said.
“It definitely put me in a place where I do want to continue to play if things work out. Because at the point before I came here, I wasn’t at that point. I definitely appreciate them and the organization for doing that for me mentally.”
Augustin showed he can still be a useful role player on a team in need of proven shooters. And now that he rediscovered his passion for the game, it’s easy to see him return to the NBA for his 15th season on a minimum veteran contract.
That doesn’t necessarily mean he will don the purple and gold jersey next year, which he acknowledged himself. The Lakers have learned the hard way they need youth around the 37-year-old LeBron James to succeed and could look for someone younger than Augustin in their backcourt.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!