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I’m just going to come right out and say it, I will be lovin’ me some Nicolas Batum this upcoming season. This love is completely platonic, or as the kids like to say, no homo; although, he does have a dashing smile and resembles a young Obama. The 23-year-old Frenchman will be entering his fifth season with the Portland Trailblazers looking to improve on an already impressive 2011-2012 campaign. Last season he experienced an uptick in points (13.9), blocks (1.0), and treys (1.8) despite averaging a whole minute less per game. Say what?! He was able to accomplish this by assuming a larger role offensively (20.5 USG% compared to 17.8 in 2010-2011) while maintaining his solid shooting percentages, which is an impressive feat for such a young player. The increase in offensive touches (Jerry Sandusky: “Did someone say offensive touching?”) was due to Brandon Roy‘s career-ending knee injury and the late-season trade of Gerald Wallace, which opened up shots for Batum. After Wallace was shipped off to Brooklyn, Batum averaged 15.4 points and 2.5 threes in the 12 games he was healthy for. Not too shabby.

So what should we expect from Monsieur Batum next season? A decrease in production all around… ha gotcha! Barring any drastic off-season moves, Batum should continue to see a larger role in the Blazer’s gameplan, playing second fiddle behind LaMarcus Aldridge. I would expect a line of 16 points/6 rebounds/2 threes while averaging just over a steal and a block per game, all while maintaining his excellent shooting ratios. But that’s not all! If you call in the next 10 minutes and promise to use your credit card, he will throw in some room for upside and a slapchop on top of that! What a guy.

Batum is currently being ranked 59th overall according to ESPN. Here is a list of small forwards going ahead of him right now: Paul Pierce, Danny Granger, Tyreke Evans, and Luol Deng. I would rather pass on all of those guys and scoop up Batum in the fifth or sixth round, using the earlier picks to fill up my other positions. Is it safe to say that I will be targeting Batum on all of my fantasy teams next season? Oiu Oiu.

  1. Fenris-77 says:
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    I’m with you on Batum. Deng is hurt, Granger is past it, and Pierce is just old. Reke is ok, but who knows if he’ll even be on the Kings next season or what his role might be on another team (plus he’s not really a SF long term eanyway). Batum is wildly efficient, and you can’t really look down you nose at a 1/1/1 guy, even if his Ast are a little less than ideal. In a league populated by high end fantasy managers (as opposed to a Yahoo public league) you might need to draft Batum in the 4th round to make sure you land him, but since that’s not a stretch based on his production and potential I’ll probably do just that.

    • JashFath

      JashFath says:
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      @Fenris-77, Yeah, as we get closer to the beginning of the start of next season his value may rise, but I’ll still buy. He is, how you say… zee real deal.

  2. Nick says:
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    Keeper conundrum for you – who do you like more? Gallinari or Batum?

    • JashFath

      JashFath says:
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      @Nick, Batum. He has more room to grow, similar stats with better ratios, and a better playing time situation. Keep in mind that Wilson Chandler (who missed most of last season) could be back with the Nugs next season and eat into Gallo’s minutes.

  3. Fenris-77 says:
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    I like Batum there, Gallo is what he is, and while he’s a solid top 60 keeper (if you can ignore the injuries) Batum is a better fantasy prospect. Batum gets you better defensive counting stats (by a lot) and doesn’t hurt you as much in FG% and Gallo does.

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