He may be coming off the worst season of his NBA career, but Toronto Raptors point guard D.J. Augustin is familiar with overcoming adversity.
The recently acquired 25-year-old is eager to start fresh in Toronto after starting only five games and shooting a career-low field-goal percentage (.350) in 2012-13 with the Indiana Pacers.
“God does everything for a reason,” he said. “I was in Indiana for a reason. I was able to go to the Eastern Conference finals and experience things I would’ve never been able to experience. I’m here for a reason. It’s a journey.”
The New Orleans-born Augustin’s life drastically changed at 17, as he and his family were forced to abandon their home when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in August, 2005.
“It was a tough and scary situation,” he said. “We had to leave our home and things behind, but my family stayed close together and we fought through it. I think God does everything for a reason.”
The off-court struggles didn’t hinder his love for his chosen game.
After his family relocated to Texas, Augustin quickly rose to fame as a basketball star at Hightower High School in Missouri City.
In Texas, he developed his on-court talent under the watchful eyes of many scouts.
Augustin won numerous awards during his high-school career and was named a McDonald’s All American.
The highly sought-after prospect then attended the University of Texas, where he played for two seasons. He was later selected ninth overall by the Charlotte Bobcats in the 2008 NBA draft.
Augustin spent four seasons with the Bobcats before signing a one-year deal with the Pacers.
“Last year was different,” he said. “When you don’t get to play a lot, you don’t get to produce a lot.”
Augustin, who is known as a pass-first point guard, has an average of 4.0 assists per game (to go with 9.6 points per game and 1.8 rebounds per game) in his career.
Last season may have been disappointing – averaging only 2.2 assists and 4.7 points – but Augustin has faith in his future with the Raptors.
“It’s an adjustment,” he said of adapting to a new team. “But we’re going to fight through it and keep working at it to get better every day.”
Augustin and Dwight Buycks are expected to back up starting point guard Kyle Lowry this season.
Augustin had seven points and six assists in almost 30 minutes of action in two preseason games before Friday’s action.
“I think we’re going to be a really good team,” Augustin said. “We’re working hard every day. We’re just trying to get better and keep pushing all season.”