NBA Portland Trail Blazers

Nicolas Batum’s Playmaking Abilities Remain Sharp

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Nicolas Batum of the Portland Trail Blazers sure likes keeping his teammates involved regardless of which game he’s playing

Batum continues to be a top playmaker for the Blazers and one of the best in the league. The defense has never had an easy time of guarding him because he’s a tough scorer and an awesome passer.

For the season, Batum has started 69 Blazer games and averages 38.7 minutes per NBA contest. He’s averaging 4.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game, and is shooting 42.5 percent from the floor. Batum has also been a steady 84.6 percent from the free-throw line.

In recent games, he’s been passing the ball very well. He had eight assists in a 103-83 loss Sunday to the Oklahoma City Thunder plus seven and six in his previous two games.

Batum’s average is up from his career total of 2.0 assists per game. That’s a dramatic increase in one season.

He’s been able to work his way more into a playmaker role this season and it’s been paying off for the Blazers, who can then have other standouts like Damian Lillard focus on the scoring. Last season, for instance, he only averaged 1.4  assist per game and 1.5 the previous season. With the change of personnel, Batum has had a different role.

Batum has been doing whatever he can to get the job done for Portland. For that, he deserves plenty of credit. The team continues to battle for a playoff spot and might not make it since time is running out this season.

But Batum is doing his share.