This is an unusual feeling. The Los Angeles Lakers beat one of the better teams in the NBA in their home floor. Things have been that bad that it is hard to believe. Granted, LeBron James returned to the place where he was born and raised, which meant he was going to deliver an exceptional performance and that he did. James finished with 38 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists. LeBron did have some help from an unexpected source, D.J. Augustin.
The 34-year-old from Texas signed with the Lakers on March 1st and has played well as of late. His performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers was easily his best, finishing with 20 points while shooting perfect from the field. Not only was he perfect, but six of his seven shots were from long distance and we all know how bad the Lakers have needed some shooting help.
After the game, LeBron had high praise for Augustin’s shooting performance against the Cavs.
I’ve always flourished in my career with shooters and D.J. is a shooter, a big-time shotmaker.
It’s no secret that LeBron has always needed shooters around him to truly dominate and win. The Lakers have been lacking that severely and Augustin’s ability to shoot the ball is a luxury they cannot afford to lose. No one thought Augustin would have this impact when he was first signed after being waived Houston Rockets. His shooting could have been the difference in so many games this season and LeBron is very much aware of how his presence opens up the floor.
It’s not only LeBron who has taken notice, but more importantly the head coach, Frank Vogel. The third year head coach also praised Augustin’s shooting performance, along with his ability to stabilize the offense. (CooperHalpern/LakersSBN)
"There's just a calm to our offense when he's in the game."
Frank praised DJ Augustin for his lights out shooting and nifty "pocket passing" as part of his stabilizing offensive presence
— Cooper Halpern (@CooperHalpern) March 22, 2022
It’s not just his shooting, it’s his ability to be a creator for others. For a player placed on waivers, Augustin has been quite the contributor and the Lakers will need every bit of it moving forward. With Carmelo Anthony being the only other player on the roster who can shoot the rock, Augustin gives the Lakers another weapon off the bench. He will be able to spot up, but as Vogel mentioned, he is able to lead the offense when LeBron and Russell Westbrook are off the floor.