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Prospect update: Nicolas Batum

December 26th, 2007 · No Comments

To start the new platform, I will make short updates on the most interesting prospects in relation with the upcoming NBA Draft. I will talk about the most probably early entrants as well as the most promising 1986 born and automatically eligible players. To start, I will talk about the French swingman Nicolas Batum.

Batum has been the big hype before last year’s edition of the NBA Draft. After his interesting performance at the Nike Hoop Summit, he looked like a potential lottery pick. However, Batum decided to stay away from last year’s edition of the NBA Draft, in particular because he felt not ready for the move to make. He considered his game not ready enough to contribute directly as a lottery pick in the big league.

Now, half a year later, where is Batum? When you check his numbers in the Euroleague, you see dramatically improved figures in scoring (9.0ppg from 4.3ppg last season) on nearly the same shooting percentages. So, even if his scoring aggressiveness has improved, he has still not developed a more reliable jump shot, especially from behind the three-point line where he remains average with only 29%. You can however mention his shooting extravaganza in the home game against Maccabi Tel Aviv where he went perfect all throughout the game. If you take that game away, Batum was at a poor 5/24 from behind the arc.

A category where he really improved is the assist section. He showed already during the U19 World Championships during the Summer that he can create for his teammates. He even went too far in that exercise in some occasions. So he has translated this passing skills into his game with Le Mans too. He is averaging correct 2.7apg in 27mpg which I consider as interesting and even improvable.

The main weakness besides his shooting remains the regularity in his game. Batum can come up with monster games or stretches where he dominates, but then he disappears for some moments or comes up with poor games. I saw several Euroleague matches of Le Mans this season and Batum was never the go-to-guy in the Final minutes. He even was not on the court on some of these moments as he was not able to take the ball and make the big plays. This is the part of his game that he needs to improve the most as he has all the qualities to do it. He just needs the confidences to do it.

I prepared about 1 year ago a video analysis of Nicolas. Unfortunately, I can still use it to show his forces and weaknesses as I did not see dramatic changes besides what he displayed during that game and what he is showing now. However, that video shows what he is able to do and if he can translate this to the basketball court on a regular basis, it is easy to imagine what type of player he can develop into.

[youtube fgcDNhAtFpk nolink]

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