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D.J. Augustin Could Fit into Chicago Bulls' Long-term Plans

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COMMENTARY | One bright spot in the Chicago Bulls' abysmal season has been the play of point guard D.J. Augustin. Acquired on December 13 after being waived by the Toronto Raptors, Augustin has seamlessly fit into Chicago's system.

Augustin averaged 2.1 points and one assist in ten games with the Raptors. In nine games as a member of the Bulls he averages 10.4 points and 6.2 assists. Augustin started in three of those nine games.

Augustin's addition forced Chicago to waive veteran guard Mike James and send second year guard Marquis Teague to the D-League's Iowa Energy. The Bulls are just 4-5 since acquiring Augustin, which isn't indicative of the point guard's play. Injuries to the likes of Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich have caused the Bulls to sputter in the month of December.

Drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats with the ninth overall pick in 2008, Augustin had a good run in Charlotte but lost his way upon signing with the Indiana Pacers last season. The former Texas Longhorn averaged a career low 4.7 points and 2.2 assists in one season with Indiana, and was sparsely used while employed north of the border. He just may have found a home in the Windy City.

"D.J., he's very smart," Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau told Comcast Sportsnet Chicago. "He's picked things up very quickly. I think the quick decision-making has become contagious. He makes quick decisions and he reads things well. He does a good job of getting guys in rhythm."

Looking on to next season, with Derrick Rose returning on a surgically repaired knee, and free agent Kirk Hinrich seemingly on his last leg, the Bulls should take a serious look at signing Augustin long-term. He's shown poise and playmaking ability in his short time in Chicago that's hard to find in a backup point guard. The problem is, Augustin is playing so well he may find a more lucrative offer elsewhere.

I have no doubt that Derrick Rose will return next season and be a good NBA player. He may not be the player he used to be, but he'll still be pretty good. If Rose is terrible or gets injured again, the future of the Bulls on-court decision making will be handled by Marquis Teague - nobody wants that.

It may be a good idea for Chicago to sign D.J. Augustin to a multi-year contract as D. Rose's back up and insurance policy.

Sherron Shabazz is a long-time Bulls follower and a season ticket holder for more than a decade. Sherron is in his fifth season covering the NBA for Examiner.com.

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