Caplan: Blazers F Nicolas Batum Wants First All-Star Selection

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Spo

Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum believes he deserves a spot in the 2014 All-Star Game.

Jeff Caplan of NBA.com has an interview with Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum, who nominates himself for the 2014 All-Star Game.

"I look at all the small forwards in the West," Batum told NBA.com Saturday night prior to putting up 21 points on 8-for-11 shooting with seven assists in a blowout win at Dallas. "You know, KD [Kevin Durant], is way up there, so can't reach him he's so far. But the West has to take a small forward after KD; I think it should be me. The West is crazy. I talked about it with Tony Parker two nights ago - I had dinner with him - that in the West, for a bench, to pick seven guys is pretty tough. KD is going to start at small forward, but I know if I get a chance to be on the bench to be a backup to KD, I would be very happy to do it."

...

NBA.com: You said you would be happy to back up Durant on the West All-Star team. Do you believe you have earned the right to do so this season?

NB: "I think so. I mean we're winning, so if we're winning games - we're top three in the NBA - we should get at least two guys. I don't think we're going to get three guys, but Damian [Lillard] and L.A. will make it for sure."

Caplan's full piece, which includes a look at Batum's rankings at his position, is right here.

Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com reported similar comments from Batum.

"Yes, of course," Batum said to CSNNW.com. "If they have to pick one small forward behind K.D. (Kevin Durant), I think it should be me."

...

"I got two triple-doubles and I should have about five or six. And we're 31-9, maybe the best team in the West so far. I think it'll be tough to get three All-Stars because Damian [Lillard] and [LaMarcus Aldridge] are going to be in it. And our coach, too. But I deserve consideration."

Haynes' full piece, which includes thoughts from Damian Lillard, is right here.

There's nothing that requires more than one small forward to make the All-Star Game from each conference. Last year's Western Conference All-Star team included only Durant at that position. Small forwards, power forwards and centers are lumped together in the "frontcourt" designation, meaning Batum is competing against players at his position and the West's deep stable of power forwards.

Batum also said he should be considered for an All-Star spot last season.

Batum, 25, is averaging 13.4 points, a career-high 6.8 rebounds and a career-high 5.6 assists while shooting 46.1 percent from the field.

PS Thanks to MiledAnimal in the FanShots.

Be sure to follow the new, official @Blazersedge Twitter feed right here.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com |Twitter

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