Eurobasket 2013: Portland Trail Blazers Should Be Pleased with Play of Nicolas Batum
When he’s on the floor with the Portland Trail Blazers, Nicolas Batum knows that he’s not the go-to guy. Playing with the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard and a perennial All-Star candidate in LaMarcus Aldridge, there’s no reason for Batum to be anything other than an above-average role player.
As he plays for France at Eurobasket 2013, Batum’s role is somewhat similar to what it is with Portland. Playing alongside other NBA players like Nando de Colo, Boris Diaw and, of course, Tony Parker, Batum is once again asked only to be a solid role player for the French in this tournament.
Thus far, Batum has found his normal niche and has performed well. Through 10 games for the final round bound French squad, Batum has averaged 11 points, five rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.9 steals and 1.1 blocks in 28.3 minutes per game while shooting 45.1 percent from the field. He has been disappointing from long-range, hitting only 23.1 percent of his attempts, but that hasn’t held him back all that much throughout the past few weeks.
How Batum’s role with France has mirrored his role with the Trail Blazers is almost eerie. He’s played the part of the good role player, but has also stepped up when needed to. In a matchup against Latvia earlier in the tournament, Batum rose to the occasion to deliver 19 points, 10 boards, six assists, one block and one steal on 7-10 shooting, undoubtedly being their most important player on that day.
Though he hasn’t put up staggering numbers, Portland has to be pleased with what they’ve seen with Batum. More than almost any other NBA player at Eurobasket, Batum is getting work in the role that he serves for his professional team. He’s performed well in that role, too, which is good news for a Blazers team hoping to find themselves in the postseason.
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