Nicolas Batum's Worst Games of 2013

Disclaimer: Recently blazersmakrreturns posted a wonderful article on Nicolas Batum's best games of last year. Like him, I am a huge fan of Batum's. He has incredible talent, still more upside, and seems to flourish in a system like Terry Stott's. His best games are jaw-dropping and his best plays make you leap off the couch in applause. So this article is not meant to bemoan Batum's inconsistency!! It only is meant to highlight the lows as requested by blazersmakrreturns for someone to submit a worst 10 stat line. Others have written similar requests. I had an extra hour on my hands today, so without further ado, here we go:

#10: 3/8 @ SA: 2 pts, 8 reb, 5 ast, 2 blk, 0 stl, 4 pf, 0 to

1-5 in 38 minutes, no FT’s attempted while committing 4 fouls himself. Only saving grace? He actually rebounded. Not turning the ball over also leaves this lower on the list than it easily could have been.

#9: 3/12 vs Mem: 4 pts, 10 reb, 2 ast, 2 blk, 2 stl, 4 pf, 3 to

Even worse, 0-5 in 38 minutes, but at least he rebounded and got to the line a couple times. I still put this worse than his SA outing 4 days earlier because his assists dropped and turnovers rose.

#8: 1/2 @ Tor: 10 pts, 4 reb, 4 ast, 1 blk, 0 stl, 0 pf, 0 to

This goes back to one of my issues with Batum. 4-6 2pt FGM, 0-6 3pt FGM. If the 3 isn’t falling, but the 2 is, stop shooting 3’s. Not one of his best rebounding games either. And when Batum fails to register blocks, steals, or fouls, it usually means it was a game where he didn’t put much effort in on the defensive end. That’s supposition here, however, since I didn’t actually watch this game.

#7: 4/1 @ Uta: 10 pts, 0 reb, 4 ast, 0 blk, 0 stl, 2 pf, 3 to

No rebounds for a SF? In 29 minutes? Stealth tank was in full swing by this point, but still…. Good freaking night. Along with 3 turnovers, no blocks and no steals, 10 points doesn’t salvage this one.

#6: 1/16 vs Cle: 23 pts, 12 reb, 2 ast, 0 blk, 1 stl, 5 pf, 9 to

How does a double-double end up here, you may ask? While some might disagree with this placement (and I understand that many will), how in the heck does your non-primary ball handler commit 9 turnovers? That’s nearly half of Portland’s 19 turnovers in this game—leading to 24 points for Cleveland. Portland lost by 5.

#5: 12/5 @ Ind: 5 pts, 0 reb, 4 ast, 0 blk, 1 stl, 1 pf, 2 to

The second of the 0 rebound performances comes in the form of this whopper. Shooting 2-8, no FTA, this is a notable disappearing act in 29 minutes of play.

#4: 12/8 vs Sac: 5 pts, 2 reb, 2 ast, 0 blk, 1 stl, 1 pf, 4 to

This stinker got bumped down the list because Batum only played 17 minutes, leaving with a back injury. But you still have to chalk it up as one of his worst games, as he was on pace for over 8 turnovers in 36 minutes….

#3: 11/2 @ OKC: 3 pts, 1 reb, 2 ast, 0 blk, 1 stl, 4 pf, 1 to

1-11 in 37 minutes, no FT’s attempted, 1(!!!!) rebound……. Ugh. Lost by 14. Blazers were -17 when Batum was on the floor in this game. They were only -9 when Pavlovic was on the floor.

#2: 2/12 @ Mia: 5 pts, 2 reb, 4 ast, 2 blk, 0 stl, 3 pf, 5 to

Commit as many turnovers as scored points? Check. Collect 2 rebounds against the worst rebounding team in the NBA? Check. Bosh, James and Wade went for 86 in this game. I know it’s the world champs, but this was not Batum’s night.

#1: 2/4 @ Min: 4 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast, 2 blk, 1 pf, 7 to

Portland won this game by 2. How? Lillard played 38 minutes and scored 21, Matthews 22 in 39 minutes, Aldridge 25 in 39 minutes. Batum played over 20 minutes more than Babbit or Nolan freaking Smith and was still outscored by BOTH OF THEM. Oh, yeah, and 7 turnovers contribute to a -23 +/- rating for Batum when he was on the floor. [Despite the obvious wrist injury to all watching, he still played 35 minutes. I’m judging this one on the performance purely. While I’m the first one to give him slack for many of his games affected by injury, this one was lackadaisical on defense, sloppy on offense, and the coaches should have pulled him. But they didn’t and it goes down as my worst game of last year of Batum’s.]

Conclusion: While Batum had some bad games last year, I found a couple common themes. First, most were on the road, typical of most players, so not that worrisome. He doesn't often drop a stinker at home. Second, most were injury related. While his wrist definitely affected his worst games, his back issues in December gave him a couple really bad games as well. With a credible backup now on the bench, hopefully Stotts will rest Batum should injuries flare up this year. Finally, it was really hard to find 10 terrible games. He is consistently a good performer and sometimes a terrible performer and sometimes a superstarrish peformer. Even with these bad games, I'm still a huge fan. Overall, I think Sean in Vancouver said it best:

Batum is one of those guys who is not going to be great every night. Sometime's he'll be bad. But overall, he’s pretty damn good. Unfortunately, a lot of fans tend to pay so much attention to the first two points, that they miss the third.

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