"There was a big buzz around the team about local product Nicolas Batum—the player we came to scout this time last year—now starting for the Portland Trailblazers after being drafted in the first round last June. He had 15 points and 6 rebounds in the evening before the game, and is really acquainting himself well with American basketball. One of the journalists we met, Bruno Palmet of local newspaper Le Maine Libre mentioned having spoken to him that day and passed on how happy he is in Portland at the moment. The people in Le Mans are very happy to see Batum succeeding, as they put a significant effort into helping him develop. It’s funny to look back a year ago and think about the evaluation we offered up back then—talking about a super versatile talent with incredible physical tools, but questioning whether he has the aggressive mentality required to be a lottery pick. A huge amount of confusion regarding the diagnosis of a minor heart problem, combined with his physical magically disappearing following a workout he conducted with the San Antonio Spurs, led him to being drafted by the Houston Rockets and then sent to Portland on draft night. It’s not hard to pick up on the irony here. The team that diagnosed Batum with a heart problem—the Toronto Raptors—ended up selecting a player (Nathan Jawai) who’s career is now in doubt due to concerns over heart problems, while Batum is looking like one of the biggest steals of the draft. His perceived biggest weakness back when he was considered a potential lottery pick—a lack of aggressiveness—is exactly the reason why the Trailblazers love having him on the floor with their starting unit, as he brings an incredible amount of versatility to the table with his terrific defense, passing skills, basketball IQ and athleticism. His biggest weakness is now his biggest strength, having landed in the perfect situation, and he looks well on his way from what we can see early on."