NBA players may love to compete, but most don't enjoy having to fight for playing time. If given their druthers, just about every player in the Association would much rather go into the season knowing who, if anyone, is above them on the depth chart rather than having to go to battle with their teammates for minutes.
A few months ago, Nicolas Batum could have reasonably assumed that he won't have to worry about getting minutes. After Martell Webster was traded, it seemed like a lock that Batum would get the bulk of the playing time at the wing without much competition. Good news for Nic. But then the team goes out and acquires Wesley Matthews, a player whose ability to defend the opposing team's best wing player and shoot the open three coincide with Batum's foremost skills. Bad news for Nic, right?
No way, at least according to Batum. The third-year small forward from France says that, after seeing the way Matthews played as an undrafted rookie, he's more than happy to share duties.
"I'm glad to have him here, really," said Batum. "Honestly, playing against him last year, he did great job. When we signed him I was very happy. People start to think it's going to be competition with him like Martell last year, but I don't think so."
With Matthews on the roster, the Trail Blazers now have the ability to throw two elite defenders at the best wings in the NBA, which will help the team achieve what Batum says should be the ultimate goal: winning games.
"I saw him in the playoffs last year," said Batum. "He did a great job on Kobe (Bryant) and Carmelo (Anthony). I think we have the same desire. We want to win. We can combine our games and be together on the court. I've very glad to have him."