Here's a quick round-up of coverage given to Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum as he competes for SLUC Nancy in France.
Brother Wendell Maxey joined John Canzano on 750 The Game to talk about catching up with Batum in France last week. Audio here. His thoughts...
He looks great. I saw him in Lithuania at EuroBasket and he was playing behind Tony Parker and kind of picking up some scraps behind Tony Parker. But seeing him in his element over in Nancy, France, playing for his team there. It's his team. I think he gets lost in the mix of Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge and that whole phase... and Nicolas kind of picking and choosing his spots.
But I saw Nicolas in a different light last weekend because it was his team. It was him being home, him being in his element. He had 10 members of his extended family there and that's a big part of why he wanted to come back during the lockout, to get a chance to play in front of them. I think there's a comfort level there. They put the ball in his hands more. He's running like a point forward position, he's really developed his post-up play, pick-and-roll game, and so they had the ball in his hands constantly. He's just efficient. It's not like he's taking a lot of shots. I think he finished with 19, seven and five on the night. He didn't take a ton of shots, he's just efficient, picks and chooses his spots. A certain confidence that he was oozing from talking to him in that he wants the ball in his hands and it's his team. And that's hopefully going to carry over.
I got the impression from Nicolas the other night that he's so glad and happy he made the decision to come over. I think he would say that same thing had the lockout been wrapped up last week or two weeks ago... He maybe would be a little disappointed he would have to go back knowing how well he's done, he's really excelled.
In this Google translated interview with Ouest-France.fr, Batum talks about his confidence level and mentality. Here's his translated response to a question about why he is playing better in Euroleague than in France league play.
I focused a little more Euroleague in Pro A, it was my fault. I had stats sometimes a little weird. Large numbers in Euroleague not Pro A. Now, I lose fewer balls in recent matches, the address is returned. Now I try to be consistent in both competitions.
DraftExpress.com has a nice database going of NBA players and their lockout stats. Batum is averaging 20.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.5 assists in Euroleague play. He's averaging 11.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists in France.
This Google translated AFP report calls France's group of promising younger national team players "Generation Batum. The group's junior team coach says Batum will be "a great team leader in France" and believes that he has NBA All-Star potential. Generation Batum also includes Rodrigue Beaubois, Kevin Seraphin and Pape Sy.
Rohan Cruyff at SB Nation NBA has a great Euroleague weekly rundown column and notes that Batum had a hiccup this week after winning MVP twice in the first four weeks of play.
Portland's Nicolas Batum (Nancy) struggled for the first time this season, scoring just 9 points on 8 shots, missing 3 of 6 free throws and committing 3 turnovers. Nancy lost by 13 to Olympiacos, who played a physical style of defense on Batum.
Here's Jay Aych at The Painted Area on Batum's big game last week.
Next to Andrei Kirilenko, Nic Batum has been the best all-around player during the first four weeks. Nic paced Nancy with 21 pts, 9 rebs and 4 assts. Nancy loves to set up Batum off baseline screens, usually setting him up on the left block. Did a nice job scoring a few times or drawing fouls in the post.
Nicky Batts has also been handling the ball quite a bit for Nancy and has been sharp with his passes--Batum made a superb lob pass to Akin Akingbala. Batum is currently second in ppg (20.5), second in apg (6.5) and fifth in rpg (7.3). But is first in TOpg (5.0).
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter