Nicolas Batum Needs Healthy Shoulder To Lift Portland Trail Blazers Next Season

By John Raffel
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers are keeping a watchful eye on Nicolas Batum‘s shoulder and how it heals for the 6-foot-8 forward-guard during the NBA offseason.

Batum’s season ended late during the 2012-13 campaign when the Blazers didn’t want to take a chance with his shoulder. He was having the most productive season of his career when it happened. As the Trail Blazers get ready for some offseason moves, they obviously hope Batum’s shoulder heals and that he continues to improve virtually every season.

Batum started in all 73 games in which he saw action last season and averaged 38.5 minutes, 14.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game, while shooting 42.3 percent from the floor, 37.2 percent in threes and 84.8 percent from the free-throw line. His shooting in the clutch was especially effective.

His minutes were up eight full minutes a game from what he contributed in 2011-12. That statistic right there showed how more durable Batum has become despite his shoulder problems late in the season. He’s been in double figures each of his last four NBA seasons. His free-throw shooting percentage for his career is excellent at 84 percent. He’s at 44.9 percent from the floor which the Blazers would like to see get a little higher. His turnover average at 2.6 per game was higher this year than the Blazers wanted to see.

Taking care of the ball better, while attacking the hoops even more effectively, is among the top priorities next season for Batum. But if he’s in the lineup for most of the season, Portland has a shot at the playoffs.

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