Nicolas Batum’s breakout NBA season has been well documented by sports media outlets universally. The Portland Trail Blazers’ young star has provided close to first round value for fantasy basketball teams all season long, providing stats ahead of his #31 overall average draft position. Recently however, there has been a buzz throughout the fantasy world regarding Batum possibly falling off in the second half. Should Batum owners look to trade the French-man before the trade deadline?
The major detractor to Batum lately has been a nagging injury to his shooting wrist. Unlike other NBA players, Batum has recognized his issue and adjusted his game to embrace the injury.
Over the last 30 days, while Batum’s points have dropped by just over one point per game, his rebounds and assists have jumped up to 6.9 and 5.6 respectively. While he may be down one point per game, he also has been taking one less shot per game over the same 30 days. This has caused his field goal percentage over the same time period to go up 10 percent.
Batum’s line Friday Feb. 8th at Houston:
24 pts (7-12 FG, 6-6 FT), four threes, two rebounds, three assists, three blocks
Friday night, Batum put up his highest point total since Jan. 5th by dropping 24 on the Houston Rockets. He was well in rhythm from behind the arch, notching 4-8 three-pointers. While his owners are happy he hit four threes, they’ve got to be even happier with the eight attempts. The overall scoring and shooting performance from Batum was very encouraging for his fantasy owners moving forward.
At this point in the season, there’s no scenario I would recommend trading Batum, unless you’re receiving the guaranteed best player in the deal. That statement severely narrows the potential trade market, but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t trade Batum for Kevin Durant, LeBron James or James Harden.
If you’re a Batum owner, he’s served you well through this point in the season as one of your teams’ anchors. Rest assured, he will continue to lead your team down the stretch. However, if you’re not a Batum owner, and see an opportunity to buy-low on a fantasy game-changer, make the move!
Follow Jeff on Twitter: @Jewish_Jeff