DJ Augustin returns to Rockets, impressed by Kevin Porter Jr.’s evolution as point guard
After 13 years in the NBA, veteran guard DJ Augustin had called it a career. Although the man who made Houston his adopted hometown had not officially made a retirement speech or submitted paperwork to the league, Augustin was content being at home with his family.
A former first-round pick in the 2008 NBA draft by Charlotte, Augustin played portions of two seasons with the Rockets after being traded from Milwaukee in March 2021 as part of the PJ Tucker trade. He was waived by Houston in February 2022 and was claimed by the Lakers, where he played 21 games to end the 2021-22 season.
“I was done playing,” said Augustin, a point guard, as he prepared for Friday’s home game versus Detroit. “I had a few teams calling, but I was pretty much just at home with my family, being a dad. I was still working out and doing things, but for the most part, being on a team, I wasn’t trying to go anywhere.”
Only one team could get Augustin to give up “Daddy Duties” and return. “The only situation I was willing to go to was Houston,” said a smiling Augustin. “Not thinking it would happen, and one day I got the call. That is how life is sometimes. I am just happy to be back.”
That call came from Rockets general manager Rafael Stone while Houston was in the middle of a five-game road trip in late March. During his first stint in Houston, Augustin averaged 7.3 points and 2.8 assists per game, but his main objective was to help Kevin Porter Jr. transition into a starting point guard, a position he was still learning.
Before the 2021-22 season, Augustin had noticed the work Porter had put into becoming better at his new position in the offseason.
“He is just trying to put it all together,” Augustin said of Porter’s transition. “Switching positions and becoming a point guard ain’t easy. It is not something that you can just do all the time.”
During his time away from the game, Augustin noticed that Porter had finally started evolving from a natural scorer to a team leader.
“I have been watching his whole season,” Augustin said of Porter. “The way he slowed down his game and his pace. You can see that it is opening things up for him more. He knows when to use his body and control the game and be a real point guard. I am happy to see him do that, and he is growing a lot.”
Porter’s growth and maturity have been displayed over the four games that Augustin has been on the bench and in the locker room with him. He is averaging 24 points per game, including back-to-back 30-plus point games. His 33-points, four steals, and seven made 3-pointers in Friday’s victory against the Pistons put him in some elite company. The only other Rockets player to perform that feat was former NBA MVP James Harden, who did it four times in Houston.
“It is good to have DJ back, because he is a player who has played my position for a very long time, and he shows and tells me different things I may not see,” Porter said. “He has a great approach to how he sees the game and breaks it down in a way that can be easily explained. It is good to have him back.”
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Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire
Source: Yahoo Sports