NBA Rumors: Nicolas Batum Not Worth All of the Fuss
The drama keeps building between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Portland Trail Blazers as each franchise seeks the services of Nicolas Batum, a small forward who has spent his entire four-year NBA career with the Blazers.
Too bad he's not worth all this fuss.
According to ESPN's Ric Bucher, the two teams are in a "grudge match" as the Wolves have proposed trade after trade—even bringing in other teams for facilitation purposes—in an effort to acquire Batum.
Nothing has worked for David Kahn and the Minnesota brass, forcing the organization to offer the small forward a four-year, $46.0 million offer sheet. The Blazers will have until Wednesday night to match the proposed deal for the Frenchman.
Once again, he's not worth it.
Batum has steadily improved during his tenure with Portland, topping out this last season at 13.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 steals per game. All of those numbers are career highs, with the exception of the assists, which dropped 0.1 points from the 2010-2011 campaign to the 2011-2012 one.
Do those numbers really look like they're worth over $10 million per year, on average?
There is no doubt in my mind that Minnesota—and Portland if the Blazers choose to match the offer—is drastically overvaluing Batum's potential.
For years, the small forward has found himself on lists of potential breakouts. His long arms are supposed to allow him to turn into a star defender. That hasn't happened, and he's also failed to improve his offense when he's not on the perimeter.
Batum's true shooting percentage rose to 57.5 percent this past season, but that's not nearly as high as it needs to be for him to justify earning so much money.
Is Nicolas Batum overhyped?
As for the defense, Batum has become a solid perimeter defender, often asked to guard the opponent's best wing player. However, if that player moves into the post, Batum is lost. He also performed quite poorly when closing out on three-point shooters.
Basically, the small forward is a solid perimeter defender, but not much more yet.
That "yet" is really the only reason that these two teams are engaging in this war for his services.
One day, he could be worth it. He just isn't at this stage of his career.
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