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Hollinger: Blazers F Nicolas Batum To Have Break Out Year

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John Hollinger of ESPN.com sees a breakout season coming for Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum.

Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE

John Hollinger of ESPN.com named Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum as one of 10 breakout players for the upcoming 2012-13 season.

Batum came off the bench at the start of last season and averaged only 30.4 minutes per game. There is no way on God's green Earth he plays that infrequently in 2012-13, not after the Blazers purged most of the veterans and handed Batum a $45 million deal in the offseason.

Even projecting last season's numbers to 35 minutes per game yields some solid output -- 16 points, five boards -- but one must also factor in that Batum turns 24 in December and is still improving, and that he'll likely get a lot more touches this season than with the more offensively talented club of a season ago. Batum's percentages may take a slight hit, especially the 3-point percentage since it was already likely at his upper limit, but look for him to average in the high teens while shooting in the mid-40s as the second option for a Blazers team that appears short of weapons this season.

Thanks to thebiglg in the FanShots.

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