Batum Says He’s Earned All-Star Nod


VIDEO: Nicolas Batum has 14 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high 14 assists

DALLAS – Portland Trail Blazers do-it-all small forward Nicolas Batum readily admits that pal Tony Parker remains France’s No. 1 NBA heartthrob. Perhaps that gap will narrow a bit if Batum is selected to his first Western Conference All-Star team, an honor he says he would relish and, in all honesty, deserves.

NBA All-Star 2014His team’s 31-9 record, and his advanced stats suggest he is right.

“I look at all the small forwards in the West,” Batum told NBA.com Saturday night prior to putting up 21 points on 8-for-11 shooting with seven assists in a blowout win at Dallas. “You know, KD [Kevin Durant], is way up there, so can’t reach him he’s so far. But the West has to take a small forward after KD; I think it should be me. The West is crazy. I talked about it with Tony Parker two nights ago — I had dinner with him — that in the West, for a bench, to pick seven guys is pretty tough. KD is going to start at small forward, but I know if I get a chance to be on the bench to be a backup to KD, I would be very happy to do it.”

In his sixth season, the soft-spoken Frenchman is quietly having a sensational season playing on the league’s most potent offense. He’s averaging 13.4 ppg, scoring in a variety of ways, and posting career bests in rebounds (6.8 rpg) and assists (5.6 apg). His 46.1 field-goal percentage pales only to his second season in 2009-10 when he shot 51.9 percent, but played in only 37 games. He is shooting 36.3 percent from beyond the arc. His lanky frame and long arms help make him a sturdy defender who often checks the opponent’s top scorer.

On any given night, the 6-foot-8 Batum will post double-digit points or double-digit rebounds or double-digit assists. On some nights he might do it in two of the three categories, if not all three. He owns two triple-doubles this season, plus one points-rebounds double-double and one rebounds-assist double-double. On many nights he flirts with — at least — a double-double of some variety.

As for the All-Star Game, the West’s frontcourt is crowded with contenders, but the majority are power forwards such as Aldridge, Kevin Love, David Lee, Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan and Anthony Davis, as well as center DeMarcus Cousins.

Delving into the advanced stats reveals Batum’s all-around value to the Blazers as well as his worthiness for a coveted All-Star spot. Here’s how he ranks among the league’s forwards in key categories:

> 1st: In offensive rating (113.5 points team scores per 100 possessions with Batum on the floor)

> 4th: In net rating (10.2, the difference between offensive and defensive rating) behind his teammate Aldridge, Indiana’s David West and Golden State’s Lee)

> 4th: In true shooting percentage (59.2 percent, adjusted to include the value of 3-pointers and free throws) behind Miami’s LeBron James, Oklahoma City’s Durant and Toronto’s Amir Johnson

> 4th: In effective field-goal percentage (55.5 percent, adjusted for 3-pointers being 1.5 times more valuable than 2-pointers) behind James, Johnson and Houston’s Chandler Parsons

> 3rd: In assist percentage (21.9 percent, percent of teammates’ field goals that the player assisted) behind James and Durant

> 5th: Among small forwards in rebound percentage (10.3, percentage of total rebounds a player obtains while on the court) behind New York’s Carmelo Anthony, Dallas’ Shawn Marion, James and Durant

Not too shabby.

Here’s Batum in his own words:

NBA.com: You are a unique player in that you can fill up the stat sheet in a variety of ways. Is there a player you modeled your game after?

NB: When I grew up, my favorite player was Scottie Pippen. He was a guy that could do everything on the court, on offense and defense, and that’s what I love to do. I love to rebound, I love to assist, I love to score points, I love to play defense. I love to do everything on the court, so that’s what I try to do every night.

NBA.com: You said you would be happy to back up Durant on the West All-Star team. Do you believe you have earned the right to do so this season?

NB: I think so. I mean we’re winning, so if we’re winning games — we’re top three in the NBA — we should get at least two guys. I don’t think we’re going to get three guys, but Damian [Lillard] and L.A. will make it for sure.

NBA.com: Do you go into a game with an idea if you will attack as a scorer or facilitator?

NB: It depends on the flow of the game. When I come in and I see like is it going to be Damian’s night or Wesley [Matthews]? I don’t know if I’m going to have a triple-double every night, but if I can do it, I will do it.

NBA.com: So your goal every game is to shoot for a triple-double?

NB: Yeah. if I get like a 14 [points], 10 rebounds, 11 assists, that’s my kind of night. I don’t think I can average a triple-double, I’m not saying that, but I am the type of guy that can do the 14, 8 and 7 every night.

NBA.com: Why do you think more players aren’t as adept in filling up the stat sheet in a variety of ways?

NB: The system we do have helps me to do that. I know all the players I have around me. I know where they are, I watch a lot of video and I know who I am. I just know and read the game situation what I have to do. If I get 10 assists tonight, I get 10 assists. If I get 15, 20 points, that’s what I’m going to try to do. I just adjust my game to the other guys and the coach [Terry Stotts] told me that this season I am going to be the key to success.

NBA.com: It seems a good number of observers are waiting for the Blazers to flatten out a bit after such a first half of the season, or are still not yet ready to declare this team “for real.” Is this team built to continue at its current pace and challenge for the No. 1 spot in the West?

NB: We had a tough stretch at the end of December, beginning of January, like we lost four games out of six. But we knew we were going to go through tough times. The good thing on this team is we are, OK, we lost those four games, but we got back on track, we regrouped, we stayed together and now we’ve got a five-game winning streak. We know that this is the first time we’ve done this. OKC has been there, San Antonio’s been there. Last year we only had 33 wins and were like 11 or 12 in the West and now we are like No. 2 and we will be No. 1 if we win [Saturday]. So after 40 games people might be surprised or expect us to fall down, but we know who we are. We know what we’ve done to be in this position so far, so we are going to try to do the same thing.

39 Comments

  1. squala96 says:

    We’ve seen Batum improve over the years, but to say he deserves an All-Star spot is a bold claim. Portland may be on top now, but we all know it’s not mainly because of him. He has helped, but not as much as Aldridge and Lillard. I’d pick Rudy Gay over him, but unfortunately for that guy, his team is in the wrong end of the standings and that’s a huge disadvantage.

  2. Allycat says:

    What about monta ellis? 20pts 6ast almost 2 steals a game feel like he gets shafted every year. Dirk idk would hope he could make it, should get a lot of respect from the coaches… 21 points a game 5.8 rebounds, I feel like that he should go over batum?( that’s the guys name right)

  3. Franlinger says:

    Obviously Batum is full of himself. He’s a well rounded player with a nice numbers don’t get me wrong, but for him to say with certainty that he is the #2 small forward in the west is absurd. Kawaii and Iggy are both defensively tough and well-rounded players as well. If Batum’s name is to be tossed into the mix, then so should theirs. However, there is 1 man we’re all seeming to forget… someone who is having a breakout season despite injuries and despite being on a team loaded with talent. I’m talking CHANDLER PARSONS who is averaging roughly 17, 5, and 4 per game. He’s young, hes athletic, he can shoot the 3 ball, he can initiate the offense, and he can defend. In short, Chander is every bit as well-rounded and talented as Batum. In fact, I would actually give Chandler the nod over Batum because lets face it ladies and gentleman… Chandler is sexy.

    • Franlinger says:

      Rockets just played Trailblazers. Batum went 6/3/7. Not so impressive, in a loss.
      Chandler on the other hand, WENT OFF. 31/10/7. Thats almost a triple double. Tell me those aren’t Allstar numbers!

      • zzz says:

        one game bro, but chandler is a good player, but he aint an allstar in the west, he would make it in the east tho.

  4. POUND FOREHEAD says:

    I think we need more 3′s to make the allstar lineup. By everyone’s list of more deserving players the allstar bench is going to be nothing but 1′s and 4′s. It needs be rounded out better. Yeah 1′s and 2′s are generally easy to switch but should guys like Love, Duncan, Aldridge, Dirk or Lee (or any other deserving big guy I forgot) have to play the 3? Or is KD going to play all 48 minutes? So we need guys like Batum or Iggy to go. Maybe not send some of those big guys that have losing or the lesser records.

  5. Jensen says:

    He wants to play like Pippen so he is doing good with it ;)

  6. Raskal says:

    It’s great to see Batman at least in the talks for ASG backups ! He deserves it. If not this year, he will be soon an all-star, But the most important thing this season is to finally get a chance to play playoffs games ! Oh boy, i wish for a Spurs-Blazers anytime during the playoffs, Parker & Diaw & DeColo vs Batum…TP leads french basketball for more than a decade now with a great international victory at Euro Basket this summer, Batum will be a fantastic successor !!

  7. alen says:

    Agree he’s a good player.At SF there are LBJ, KD,C.Anthony, Paul George in the top 4, then there are others that come in mind for the 5tht o10th spot L.Deng, J.Smith(pretty much a triple double kind of guy), J.Jhonson, Iggy,Batum(has advantage of team winning but still I’d take Smith over him)
    In the west he coud argue that he’s in the top 3 with KD, Iggy and R.Gay but then again there are a lot of great forwards(espacially PF) in the west so I don’t think he deserves in spite of those other guys:L.Aldridge, K.love, T.Duncan,D.Cousins.

  8. Harris says:

    Batum is a great all-rounded player who fit in very well with the Blazers but he shouldn’t be in All Star game ahead of Dirk, Davis and Cousins no matter how good the team is. Portland’s success is a TEAM effort and to use the team’s success as a measuring stick of an INDIVIDUAL player’s ability is irrational. If Batum and Davis/Cousins switched teams, will Batum be able to still have a 31-9 record? Definitely not. It is impossible to judge a player’s contribution to the team simply from the team’s record.

    Win Shares is a better stat to see how much wins a player has actually contributed to his team and using WS, Batum is ranked behind Dirk, Davis, Cousins and even fellow teammate Wesley Matthews. Consequently, Batum should not be selected into the All Star Game ahead of other who have accomplished more individually and have also contributed more to their team.

  9. dustydreamnz says:

    I’m a fan but no All Star this season for me.

  10. demagofrak says:

    he deserves it, perfect example where basketball skills and make your team win is not legit any more; welcome in hype fantasy land (version shoes and sportswear sales)

  11. Derek says:

    4 Career triple doubles (two this season)
    5×5 game last year and first since AK47 in 03′ (10pts, 11ast, 5reb, 5stl, 5blk)
    2nd in SF asts/gm (Lebron)

    Best chase-down block-artist in the league!

    Scottie Pippen reincarnate

    Nicolas BATUMSKAKALAKA for ALL-STAR 2014!!!! GO BLAZERS!!!!

  12. Derek says:

    4 Career triple doubles (two this season)
    5×5 game last year and first since AK47 in 03′ (10pts, 11ast, 5reb, 5stl, 5blk)
    2nd in SF asts/gm (Lebron)

    Scottie Pippen reincarnate

    Nicolas BATUMSKAKALAKA for ALL-STAR 2014!!!! GO BLAZERS!!!!

  13. OKC says:

    How has everyone here forgotten about Kawhi Leonard? I’d take him over Iggy or Batum =/.

  14. Art says:

    Batum is very good player & could be the 2nd best SF in the West (actually Parsons, Gay, Leonard & maybe Iguodala are close), but according the rules coaches don’t have to select any SF.
    No way Batum is better than Love, Aldridge, Cousins, Dirk, Davis or Duncan and sorry, he is not 5th best SF in NBA. After Durant, James, George & Anthony the best is Deng.

  15. freddy says:

    Been rooting for the home town blazers since I was in 5th grade and Brian Grant was leading us. I like Batum, and I think he is fitting well with the team and does what they ask him I think he needs to up his scoring to make the AS game.

  16. ko0kiE says:

    great player… definitely top 5 SF in the league.. he’s a level below James, KD and Melo.. but he’s on the same level as Igoudala and Gay

    • Kdangerly says:

      Would take Batum over Melo any day, knowing that Melo has more talent and is a better player than Batum. BUT! Batum is a winning player and Melo, we all see how he has been winning since coming into the NBA.

      • K says:

        that doesn’t make much sense. i mean i like batum, but he hasn’t won anything. sorry, blazer fans – he is not a top 5 sf. lebron, kd, george, melo, deng, and then pierce. that’s not to mention iguodala, smith, gay and derozan. batum, leonard and parsons are knocking on the door, though.

        unlikely he gets in this year.

      • Tort says:

        @Kdangerly do you think melo is not a winning player ? maybe he doesn’t yet missed the playoffs in his entire career HAHA

  17. realist says:

    lebron defese is bad this year
    look at the stats
    0.2 block
    1.3 steal
    103.5 def rtg
    55.7 fg % by oppoments in the paint
    miami has better defesns withou him
    :p

  18. lol says:

    there is no way parker nor curry should be ahead of lillard why here is a reason lillard in his rookie year beat parker every match they played and this season again is 2-0 for Lillard and 2-0 against curry if you count the friendly match also and his team is doing better than spurs and GSW

  19. newellbrian says:

    Are you kidding me? Anthony Davis DOES NOT deserve to be in the same list as Aldridge or Tim Duncan. That kid gets so much undeserved respect.

    Batum regularly flirts with triple-doubles, and does it on a nightly basis. That would be outstanding if he made it to the AS game, along with Aldridge (who DESERVES to be a starter!!), and Lillard.

  20. ism says:

    WHAT? No mention of Andre Iguodala in this article? His percentages are higher and his +/- rating is, too. I am not saying he is better than Batum but if he doesn’t get a mention here he’s being ROBBED.

    Check this out for further reference:
    http://stats.nba.com/playerVsPlayer.html?PlayerID=2738&VsPlayerID=201587

  21. melchie says:

    Listen, It`s all fair and dandy to give Batum his due, he is playing great and his team is playing great… but there is NO WAY he deserves an all star spot this year. The west is just too loaded. I mean just look at Demarcus Cousins, who is likely going to be snubbed. He is posting 23.4/11.7/3/1.8 stl/1.1 blk/ with a per of 27.1, Ortg 108, Drtg 102 and win share/48 of .180.. you cant say Batum deserves it over him. Or over Nowiztki, Anthony Davis etc.

    • Dieter says:

      He is on a team that is winning alot of games, more than all the players you are mentioning (Nowitzky, Davis, Cousins). Like Matthews, he’s not the first scoring option… the Blazers are a team, where players play how the coach wants them to play. If you look at the advanced stats, than you gotta admit, that’s pretty impressive. Aldridge is a lock for the All Star Game, Lillard is a should be, behind only Curry and Parker because CP3 is injured. Matthews is as good as Harden if you don’t only look to the offensive skillsets, and Batum seems like the third best SF in the West, only behind Durant and Iggy.

      If they’re gonna choose fair: It should be a bench with 4 forwards and 3 guards.

      Starting lineup as of now: Curry, Harden (not sure though, can they start Lin at SG? hope not), Durant, Griffin, Howard
      Bench forwards: Aldridge, Iggy, Duncan, Batum (as fourth)
      Bench guards: If Westbrook and Paul can’t play, than it should be Parker, Lillard and Matthews

      This is probably not gonna be the West team, because people and coaches don’t choose based on wins and obviously don’t make their choice based on this season alone. Maybe I missed some deserving players on good teams, but I can’t follow all teams/games. It wouldn’t feel wrong if Ibaka, Lee or Leonard would take Batum’s spot, because they’re also deserving players on succesful teams.

      Some people don’t see the importance in wins for All-Stars, but how ridiculous would it be to have a combined winning percentage of less than 60% for a Western All-Star team, when 6 teams in the West have a winning percentage higher than 60%? Cousins, Love, Davis, Randolph, Nowitzki, … no thank you, not this year. And especially for Cousins and Davis: they’re on the 14th and 13th team in the West… if you include them, “at least” 2 better teams in the West wouldn’t be represented (and because chances are high some teams will have 2 or more players, some playoff teams wouldn’t be represented !)

      • Desmodeus says:

        I don’t see what team record has to do with All-Star selections. Surely the All-Star game is about the showcasing the best players not the players who play on the best teams (that’s what the playoffs are for). Why should the fans be denied the opportunity to see a great player in the All-Star game simply because his team mates aren’t very good SMH.

      • Mario says:

        Desmodeus, team records have to be at least second criteria for all-star selecton as it’s an event held annually. If not, why vote? then just give it to the so-called “stars” of the league for 10 years in advance.

  22. Dude says:

    Is guy is so out of it, no way he is going be an all star, neither would liliard only aldridge might have some chance. CP3, curry, and parker are definitely be ahead of Liliard.

    • Marcus says:

      How does Aldridge has some chance? He one of the top 2, if not the best power forward in todays game. He is finally getting a lot of recognition in the league he definitively deserves the nod. He is the top power forward in the MVP rankings and is third overall. He also managed to score 30 points along with 12 rebounds in three quarters last night! That is pretty damn impressive.

      • ummmmmmmm says:

        aldridge deserves the all star nod because their team is winning and good players in good teams should get rewarded. The guy is somewhat right in that the PF and Center position is weak right now and some of these all stars, honestly aren’t franchise type all star like tim duncan, KG when he was in the timberwolves, Dirk, Amar’e, and hell even chris bosh when he was in raptor. Not saying LA isnt good but if this was 7 or 8 years ago and the guys mentioned above are in their prime, LA wont even be mentioned in the all star game even with his current 24/11 stat line.

    • blazermania says:

      Dude, we’ll see that at the end of the season where the clips and dub city end up. Keep hating!

    • zzz says:

      aldridge might have some chance? are you kidding me? Aldridge should be a lock for the allstar game, he is the best PF in the league right now, Klove is great but he isnt winning and the most important thing is wins, not stats.

  23. okc2014 says:

    He very well may deserve a “nod”. He has a compelling reason why, including his team is among the best in the entire league RIGHT NOW. Only stickler is, the fans, who vote, beg to differ, and there are simply too many other forwards in the West to chose from before him. But you never know, if his coach is picked as the West Coast, he very well may get to suit up. I don’t feel strongly about this either way, so long as Kevin Durant is a starter. Go OKC!

  24. kevin says:

    As a Portland resident it is so nice to have a team to cheer for again…very proud of this team not just by the winning but how they play the game…such a nice group of guys…GO BLAZERS.

  25. dd def says:

    doesn’t surprise me to see that he consciously models his game after pip, that’s who i’ve been comparing him to for a while now. anyone who doesn’t think this guy is a top 5 SF in the league probably hasn’t watched a blazer game since drexler lead the way.

  26. RZA says:

    FINALLY someone’s talking bout this guy. he’s a potential triple double getter since a few years now.