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Nicolas Batum, A Star In The Making

PHOENIX - APRIL 18:  Nicolas Batum #88 of the Portland Trail Blazers in action during Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on April 18, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Trail Blazers defeated the Suns 105-100 to take a 1-0 series lead.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
0Contributor IIIJuly 16, 2010

Last year Nicolas Batum started the year inactive because of having a shoulder injury, but when he came back he showed how much he improved from the year before.

He was still a great perimeter defender, but what really improved was his three-point shooting. It went up four percent from the year before, and he was more encouraged to take them.

His selection of shots also were a factor in his success as his field goal percentage went from .446 to .519. At only 21 years old, with a huge wingspan and a great work ethic, Batum is ready to break out and become an NBA star. With the departure of Martell Webster and soon-to-be-gone Rudy Fernandez, Batum will see an increase in minutes and no real competition as the starting small forward except for newly aquired guard-forward Wesley Matthews.

All Batum needs is a greater role. Last year Batum averaged 24.8 minutes per game, but if he can get 30 or more minutes a game he can show how much he can do for the Blazers. Everyone thinks of Batum as the "weak link" in Portland's starting lineup, but Nicolas fits perfectly into their offense. Portland already has players like Andre Miller, Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas doesn't have to take many shots to be a factor.

Being the spot up three-point shooter, he is is all the Blazers need for him to be. Perhaps a healthy season and a bigger role are the only things that Nicolas Batum needs to be a star.

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