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Nicolas Batum put up career highs in points per game, blocks, steals, assists and rebounds last year. He is still just 24 years old.
So what gives? Why is he here? It's because while it would certainly seem that Batum should keep growing as a player, that might not be a given.
With Portland's improved bench, the chances Batum plays 38.5 minutes a night again are slim. Those overall numbers from last year are a bit inflated as a result, and Batum's assist totals last year were also a total outlier, as his career high before last season was 1.8 a game as opposed to the 4.6 number he put up last year.
Add in the decline of Batum's PER and shooting efficiency last year, and it's possible that we know what we're getting from him at this point. Batum is an above-average defender, but he's probably only a third scoring option because of his struggles to create for himself at times.
There's no doubting that Batum is a very good complementary player, but is he worth an average of $11.7 million over the next three seasons?
Batum is still young enough to be viewed as having the potential to be more than what he currently is. Still, that potential tag comes with an expiration date, and Batum is approaching it. If he doesn't make improvements, his trade value will start to descend slowly but surely from where it is now.