When one looks at the Portland Trail Blazers roster and sees that it had such talented stars as LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and Damian Lillard, you have to scratch your head to figure out why the Blazers lost their last 13 games and finished at 33-49 with so much extraordinary talent.
Lack of depth was one of the issues. Plus, Batum wasn’t physically able to play late in the season because of a shoulder injury.
The Blazers hope they’ve taken care of the depth issue with some of their offseason moves, including the draft and free agency signings. But while Batum doesn’t get the ink granted to Lillard and Aldridge, he’s still such an important part of the Trail Blazer attack.
He’s still a major key to the success of the Blazer attack and if he picks up his game a few notches next season, the Blazers could be the surprise team of the NBA West. Batum has so much to offer the Blazers. In his fifth NBA season, he averaged 14.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.9 assists. As a forward/guard, his shooting percentage of 42.3 percent from the floor, 37.2 percent in 3-pointers and 84.8 percent from the free-throw line were decent.
But here’s the stat that makes Batum so critical to the Blazers: 38.5 minutes per game.
In a 48-minute per game league like the NBA, being able to give a team all but 10 minutes in every game makes any player an incredible asset.
But Batum needs to be less careless with the ball next season. He has a career average of 1.3 turnovers per game. But last season, it was 2.6. If Batum cuts down on his turnovers, he’ll be even more dangerous than he already is.