In a move that received little attention by almost the entire basketball community the Chicago Bulls decided to sign NBA journeyman point guard DJ Augustin. The move is clearly not a financial risk seeing as it is only for one year and the league minimum. The big risk the Bulls are taking by signing Augustin is wasting valuable time.
The move is an obvious attempt by the Bulls to try and fill the enormous void left when star point guard Derrick Rose went out for the season with yet another devastating knee injury. Kirk Hinrich has been filling the role of starting point guard as best he can but injuries are starting to catch up to him as well. Once Hinrich started missing games, the Bulls were forced to turn to their third string point guard, work-in-progress and 20-year-old Marquis Teague.
One thing that all Bulls fans can agree on is that Marquis Teague clearly lacks the confidence to be successful at the NBA level. After watching Teague miss countless open jump shots and even relatively uncontested layups, the Bulls had decided that they simply could not survive with Teague as their backup point guard. Because of Teague’s early season struggles, Chicago decided to sign Augustin to give relief to Hinrich. Once the move was made the Bulls were going to demote Teague to the NBA development league in order to help him get some confidence so that he can contribute, but once Hinrich got hurt everything changed.
Once Hinrich returned, Teague was promptly demoted. The Augustin signing is clear proof that management does not like what that have seen from Teague during his first two seasons as a professional. The simple fact of the matter is there just is no room on an NBA roster for a point guard who cannot hit an open jump shot.
Despite Teague’s ineffectiveness the question needs to be asked whether bringing in Augustin to relieve Hinrich really is the right move. If the Bulls are honest with themselves they would realize that the only thing they are going to accomplish with Augustin as their backup point guard is a potential thrashing by either the Miami Heat or the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the playoffs. It is simply a high-risk, low-reward situation if you are thinking about the long term future of the Chicago Bulls.
Financially, there is no risk seeing as Augustin is being paid the league minimum. Playing Teague and allowing him to develop as an NBA player may hurt the Chicago Bulls in the short term but in the long term it might be the right thing to do. By playing Teague more minutes and potentially ending up with a worse record the Bulls will greatly improve their draft position in a draft class that is absolutely loaded with talent.
The Bulls need help and that is just what the NBA draft is designed to do. Augustin has proved in his first month as a Bull that he is capable of being a decent NBA player. However, would the Bulls rather have a couple decent years of Augustin as their third string point guard once Rose returns, or would they rather enjoy a decade with one of the players from the most talented draft class in ten years running beside Rose assuming he can remain healthy? As sad as it may seem this Bulls team is not destined for glory this season and their best option appears to be to start thinking about their future. Whether or not signing journeymen like Augustin to help the Bulls this season really contributes to their future success is something the Bulls should really consider.