If Nicolas Batum continues to play as well as he has, he will earn minutes. If he continues to not just play well, but actually improve almost every time he steps onto the court, he's going to be a rotation player. Nate's comment after the game was that if Nicolas can consistently hit his shot (like he did today, but that's still a bif IF), then he's ready to be a Starter in this league " ... right now ... "
The obvious question is who's going to lose minutes to Nicolas ?
I think it comes down to four scenarios:
1) Nicolas joins the White Unit and Travis Starts. Rudy joins Sergio in the backcourt, along with Channing and Joel up front.
2) Nicolas actually joins Brandon, LaMarcus, Greg and Steve as one of the Starters (the odds on that happening after Summer League had to be microscopic) and is the Blazers lock-down defender for the next decade. Rudy moves to the White Unit along with Sergio, Travis, Channing and Joel. Jerryd sees only spot minutes.
3a) Nicolas joins the White Unit, and Rudy Starts. In an effort to have a little more speed and athleticism, but sacrificing some rebounding, Travis moves over to the "4" and Channing heads to the bench. Nate knows that he can count on Channing to be ready in case of an injury. The interesting thing is that Channing would almost certainly start for LaMarcus if Lamarcus couldn't play a particular game.
3b) Nicolas joins the White Unit, and Rudy Starts. Travis goes all the way from competing with Martell for the Starting "3" to seeing Martell go down to injury (very speedy recovery, Martell !) to getting only spot minutes off the bench. That's quite a fall from last year for "Mr. 4th Quarter"
I've listed these in order of the likelihood that I think they'll happen, not necessarily what I think would be best.
What would you prefer ?