UPDATE: 8/15/12 @ 3:52 PM
I'm including another graph that compares Batum to the other top 10 small forwards in the league according to John Hollinger's PER...
We all have different opinions and expectations when it comes to sports. It's one of the easiest places for us to formulate our own passionate opinions, because it's all about winning, and how we arrive at the best method to win is highly variable. That's why there are so many different philosophies in coaching and team management. The Trail Blazers have brought us a tremendous amount of joy throughout the years, but at the same time have been, in my opinion, poorly managed. With a new coach and general manager, and an almost completely younger roster, changes are on the horizon. Most of these changes are going to be tough to bear, but our wounds are already open from the 2012 season. This was very hard for some of us and a lot of fans have turned their backs on the team. All I can say about that is well we aren't winning a championship anytime soon but this is still our home town team and if you can't find any enjoyment in that then I just hope you aren't complaining all year.
I am actually always excited for the season, at least in the beginning where the possibilities are endless. In particular, Nicolas Batum has been one of my favorite players in recent years and I am very interested to see how his game will develop in 2013. He has a new contract and a solidified starting role on the team. There is no question of whether Gerald Wallace or Batum will be starting, or whether Luke Babbitt will take minutes because we are tanking. Batum is being handed the keys at the likely 3 position, with the possibility of playing the 2, as was flirted with in 2012. His minutes are likely to be the highest of his NBA career, and that means more PTS, and hopefully a higher efficiency rating. The interesting thing about Batum is that he has stayed relatively consistent over the years, in opposition to a player like Wesley Matthews, who's success seems to depend on the point guard he is paired with.
I'd like to take this time to look at Batum's statistics and formulate projections for the 2013 season based on those numbers. And then if possible I would love to have an open and educated discussion about his game. I have chosen to look at his PPG, MPG, FG%, 3P%, REB, FGA, FTA, and points per possession. I am looking at four years in the NBA and his most recent time with the French club Nancy.
PTS: 18.2 , With Batum averaging 18 points per game, I think we will feel like we are getting what they payed for. It will be a higher average because he is going to get more time on the floor.
MIN: 37.4 , More time of the floor for Batum because he will stay healthy and there will be no reason to play any other SF more than 12 minutes per game. That is of course unless Will Barton proves to be nasty. Batum's other minutes could be at the 2 position if this is the case.
FG%: .48 , This one is a complete guess but i'm assuming his field goal percentage will depend on his confidence (he should have more with more responsibility and effect on the game) and how well he can play with other guys on the floor. Luckily I don't think there are any bad seeds just yet so Batum should feed off others energy (cause they're almost all young). If Batum is running the floor at a high pace then he is going to get better shots because there won't be anyone to beat him down to the other side. Looking at his play for Nancy he had a similar FG% to what I have proposed and I think this has to do with the fact that Nancy was a fast team, as it seems of most French league play.
3P%: .38 , Pretty consistent with how he has always shot from behind the arc. He knows he can shoot the 3 and I think Stotts will encourage him to take more, but I think his percentage will stay about the same. Hey, if he's taking more but hitting at the same rate, this will increase his PPG.
FGA: 12.7 , He's going to take more shots with more time on the floor. Close to what he did for Nancy (although that was only 8 games, so we will see).
FTA: 3.5 , I think Batum is going to get fouled a little more in the NBA this season as he will hopefully be driving the the hoop more with his new lease on life (more responsibility).
REB: 5.2 , Hopefully he improves a little since last season. We would like to see Batum more active and I just hope that a new style of play will translate to his getting fouled and rebounding (hustle points).
The most interesting and somewhat unmeasurable statistic for Batum at this point is the difference between him playing the 2 and 3 and how that effects his performance.
What are your thoughts? How do you expect Batum to perform in 2013? Do you expect him to be in Portland beyond his contract?