If the Portland Trail Blazers can pull out a furious finish to the NBA regular season and make the playoffs, one of the reasons will undoubtedly be the contributions provided by Nicolas Batum, who continues to have a solid year for the franchise.
He’s averaging 14.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. What continues to be valuable about Batum is the number of minutes he puts on the floor with consistent play for the Blazers. Portland had a huge game against the New York Knicks earlier this week and Batum performed as effectively as anyone on the team in 39 minutes of action. He was 6-of-10 from the floor, 4-of-7 in 3-pointers and dished out six assists. He also had 41 and 40 minutes in his previous two games although his contributions were not as effective.
He’s been on the court to try steering the players in the right direction regardless of the numbers he’s putting up. He’s had some low scoring games but has been on the court constantly trying to help the team pull out the win.
Batum has been an excellent teammate for Rookie of the Year frontrunner Damian Lillard in helping the fabulous Portland guard keep a cool head on the court and try not to do too much.
Perhaps Batum’s most important stat is his assists per game average, which is 4.8 this season compared to 2.0 in his career. He’s learned this season how to get his players involved in the game in the most effective way possible. But now, he has to try to help the team win most of its remaining games to have a chance to be playoff bound.