Television commentator George Eddy has posted a nice look at the maturation of Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum on FIBA.com. Eddy writes that he played against Batum's father before he passed away and had an up-close view of Batum's development.
Of course he was young and frail too which pushed his coach at the time, Vincent Collet, to nickname him Bambi.
Nicolas was a huge fan of Scottie Pippen's all-around game (when evreybody else adored Michael Jordan) and we often discussed the similarities in their body types and the potential Batum showed to one day follow Scottie onto the NBA stage.
He had that same unreal wingspan for swooping to the basket for spectacularly elegant finishes but also the desire to play defense, block shots and use those tentacular arms to make steals.
Pippen was more of a playmaker in his heyday but Nicholas has developped into a great passer himself as he is actually the assist leader in the Euroleague with eight a game just ahead of the eternal altruist from Panathinaikos, Dimitris Diamantidis.
Batum is competing for SLUC in France during the ongoing NBA lockout and was recently named weekly MVP of Euroleague action.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter