I don't have a whole lot to say here other than I'm surprised there isn't more talk about how Batum has taken the next step in his development, and (even this early in the season) it needs to be commended. If you're not familiar, here are his numbers:
20.8ppg, 6.3rpg, 3.2apg, 2.3spg, 1.3bpg
That's not just good... that's silly. Can anyone do some digging and find the last person to average 20 points, 6 boards, 3 assists, 2 steals, and a block? Pippen, maybe? LeBron never got more than 2 steals and a full block in any given season. I think Dwayne Wade has. So did MJ. Granted, Batum is NONE of those players, but it's great company.
So it may not last the whole season... or it just might. There's something in Batum that I have never, ever seen before: it's hot fire. I mean, okay, yeah, maybe from time to time he'd got hot, but then he'd quickly sink back into semi-obscurity, but now even when he's not scoring, he's doing something else. He's demanded the ball to get it to someone else. He's still delivering his classic chase-down blocks (by the way, 5 blocks last night? One of them crucial? Wow).
So this post is just to get some very visible Batum love. I don't honestly think many of us expected him to seriously step up his game... but he has seriously stepped up his game. That isn't easy, and he deserved props.