Heading into the 2021-22 season, the Los Angeles Lakers backcourt looked like it had plenty of options to choose from.
However, Kendrick Nunn suffered a bone bruise that has prevented him from making his season debut and Rajon Rondo was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers mid-year. Avery Bradley has also been out due to a knee injury, leaving Los Angeles depleted at the guard spot.
After an embarrassing loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, the Lakers finally made a move and waived DeAndre Jordan and signed D.J. Augustin. Head coach Frank Vogel, who has coached Augustin both with the Indiana Pacers and Orland Magic, said that the veteran will help bolster the guard depth.
“Obviously, we began the season thinking we would have [Rajon] Rondo and Kendrick Nunn in those spots and obviously we dealt Rondo and haven’t had Kendrick all year, so DJ really fills a need in that regard,” Vogel said before Tuesday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks.
As far as how Augustin can contribute, Vogel highlighted his passing and ability to work off the ball. “I like what he brings to the table. Not just with the off-ball ability to shoot the basketball and stretch the floor and give our guys more space, but when we played smaller lineups with AD at the five or LeBron [James] at the five. DJ when he played with Vooch, I thought had his best stretch of his career. Those final two years in Orlando where Vooch was a five and they we’re playing a five-out system with an open paint.
“He’s a very,very good pocket pass and pick-and-roll playmaker. You have to go over his pick-and-rolls or he will beat you over the top. He almost beat us last year when we played Houston in this building. He can still go. I think he’s going to help us, we think he’s going to help us.”
With Malik Monk and Austin Reaves emerging as the preferred guards, Augustin will likely not see much time, but could be solid in limited minutes. However, how much value he adds at this point of the season is up for debate as the rest of the roster tries to get out of the mess they have created.
Vogel unsure about Kendrick Nunn playing 2021-22 season
All year long, Vogel has remained optimistic about Nunn’s chances of playing but he recently said the team is unsure if he will be able to suit up when asked if Augustin was brought in to replace him.
“We just don’t know about Kendrick [Nunn]. We’re still hopeful that he comes around and is able to ramp up and do it without pain and the MRI comes back where we want to see it. It hasn’t happened yet, so until we see him back on the floor, we need help in that position with that skill set.”
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