DJ Augustin Demoted, Ben Hansbrough Now Indiana's Back-Up Point Guard

Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star has reported that Frank Vogel is making a change, presumably in hopes of sparking some life into a moribund bench: Bye bye DJ Augustin, hello HansBro, Jr.

I honestly can’t speak intelligently about whether or not Ben Hansbrough can handle even 10 minutes per game of playing point guard at this level. My first guess is no. Additionally, Wells has emphasized that Vogel says it he has decided to “make a change for the SHORT term and give Ben an opportunity.”

Regardless, Augustin has been abysmal in almost all facets of the game, so it honestly cannot get much worse.

DJ has shot 26.6% from the field this season and 21.3% from behind the arc. Meanwhile, he is leading the team with 6.2 three-point attempts per 36 minutes. That is entirely unacceptable. I will offer a minor caveat: the reserve offense has been so bad that he often finds himself with the ball and nothing better to do that punt the ball at the rim.

Still, he is the one, ya know, running said awful offense.

His shooting hasn’t even been the worst of it. His size issues have been more limiting than I even anticipated. The modern NBA, with its wingspan fetish and aggressive ball-handler double team blitzing, has made it a much bigger problem in 2012 for a player to be 6’0″ versus 6’2″.

But Augustin is just tiny and he has lacked the ability to either create better angles to pass the ball or sneak through confined spaces to exploit the over-aggressive defenders. He simply gets swallowed up all too often and spends precious ticks on the shot clock just dribbling away from what should be non-threatening defense just to see what exactly is happening in front of him.

The result has been missed opportunities, truncated possessions and a lot of bad shots taken late in the shot clock. Nothing fluid can happen in terms of ball or player movement when the process of initiating the offense becomes as difficult, time consuming and out of rhythm as it often has been with Augustin on the floor.

He faces related challenges on the defensive end of the floor, obviously. We knew this would be a problem coming into the season, but I suppose the front office figured his quickness and ability to create would be a large enough asset to counteract his defensive limitations.


I don’t think anyone would tell you that going to Ben Hansbrough is a move that may unleash some untold potential that he has. It is, to me, simply a vote of no confidence on DJ Augustin.

The alternative may be no better, but it’s hard to argue that a referendum wasn’t called for.

Topics: News

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  • NLP

    I would think the other 4 bench players are happy right now know they are getting a guy who is going to look to create better shots for his teammates on every trip as his #1 priority. Green should be happy as he should be open for more 3s and lobs, Tyler should get more than 2 shots like he has over the last 10 quarters, Maybe Ben can get Sam better shots so he doesn’t take the ones that make you cringe and Ian can take better shots as well.

    We have a poor shooting bench as is, and not having anyone to create offense for them only makes it worse on top of the limited shots available in everyone reduced PT. Now that we have 5 players who play on the 2nd unit who play fast and out of control at times we can just go full uptempo and create more shots without bench like that and maybe find a way to keep up the scoring pace with other teams with super high energy.

    This may not work but it could be far more exciting if Frank lets them go at a fast pace. I hope Ben can stick because I would like to see a Lance, Ben, Tyler, Ian and Young unit play at some point.

    • Jack Wright

      i’d like to see an up-tempo style from our bench, too, atleast to try it out. it’ll prolly be a train wreck, but who knows.

      • NLP

        Honestly hard to do worse that what it was so maybe playing fast will get a few more shots for the bench and with more shots they can get in more of a groove. Its crazy hard to come in a play 10 min and get 2 shots at do good why teams with good benches have at least one guys get big MP and big FGA totals.

  • Joe Betz


  • Stretch Four

    Just solid defensive play alone will make Ben an upgrade over DJ.

    I would imagine that Ben will play with a lot of intensity considering the circumstances: it’s his first year in the NBA after playing in Europe, he had to fight his way onto the team, and now he’s finally going to see some minutes.

    He’s the kind of player that looks to attack the basket, which is definitely something this team could use.

    Not sure why we can’t give Lance some touches at the 1. I know he’s really more of a 2 guard, but he’s clearly a capable ball-handler and passer. And he’s only averaging 25 minutes a night.

    PS: I wonder if we could unload DJ to the Wizards. They need another PG bad, even if it’s someone like Augustin.

    • Stretch Four

      To add to the Lance point: I think it actually might be wise if Sam Young starts and Lance comes off the bench… but with Lance playing 35 minutes a night and closing out the game with the starters. So, a James Harden/Thunder-esque rotation.

      • Aaron Huston

        They tried Young in the starting lineup. It wasn’t good. The Pacers should dump Young and sign Chris Douglas Roberts from the D-League. Dude can score. The bench units needs someone that can score. That in turn would take pressure off Green and I bet he starts playing better. Green can’t be the go to guy, but he’s a great complimentary guy. Having him be the focal point of the second unit is why he’s struggled.

        • Stretch Four

          Yeah I know they tried Young in the lineup and it didn’t work well, but that was with Vogel’s standard rotations, and they weren’t playing Lance 35 minutes a game.

          Many good teams don’t simply just start their 5 best players. The idea would be that Lance could come in and help sustain the offense even when the starters start to sit. And he stays on the court with the other 4 starters when it’s time to close.

          This is what the Spurs do with Ginobli, and it’s what the Thunder did with Harden. The Thunder’s starting 5 last year was actually pretty atrocious on offense as a unit, but the pacing of the rotation worked out pretty well over the course of the game, especially with Durant/Westbrook/Harden closing out games.

          Obviously Lance isn’t quite Harden or Ginobli, but the same principle applies here.

  • Jack Wright

    …about time

  • Aaron Huston

    DJ + 1st for Reggie Jackson. Good defensive pg. Drop Young and pick up Chris Douglas Roberts. Boom, bench improved. Then bench Tyler and play Plumlee.

  • Stretch Four
  • Joe Betz

    Hill, long term contract. Roy, long term contract. TH, not likely with PG’s extension coming soon. So, what package makes sense in a trade to bring a true backup PG who can score? TH and DJ/ pick for who?

  • Joe Betz

    Hill, long term contract. Roy, long term contract. TH, not likely with PG’s extension coming soon. So, what package makes sense in a trade to bring a true backup PG who can score? TH and DJ/ pick for who?

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