Sep 11

Lowe: "... it’s time for something more than tiny incremental progress" from Batum and Matthews

By caseyholdahl Posted in: NicolasBatum, WesleyMatthews

Zach Lowe of (who is leaving SI soon to join the folks at Grantland) put together his list of players who are "on notice" this season for one reason or another. Lowe uses one bullet point to question whether Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews are ready to make the next jump in their careers.
Portland is paying more than $18 million combined to Batum and Matthews in each of the next two seasons, which is too much based on their respective records of NBA play — and enough to take Portland out of big-name free agency chases in each of the next two summers as things stand now (once you factor in likely team options and future picks). Both are solid role players, but neither has progressed much at creating offense with the ball — something that has left an enormous burden on LaMarcus Aldridge and could place one upon Damian Lillard immediately. Matthews’ shooting percentage on close shots fell off dramatically as he tried to go it alone more last season. Almost all available statistics paint Batum as a minus on defense despite his general look as a long-armed menace capable of guarding four positions, though the lineup jumbling Gerald Wallace’s acquisition and departure forced probably had something to do with those numbers. Regardless: If Portland wants to keep Aldridge happy, it’s time for something more than tiny incremental progress from these two.
Putting Aldridge's happiness on the shoulders of Batum and Matthews seems like a bit much, but there's no question that, if the Trail Blazers are to be more than a middling Western Conference team, both have to take that next step.


  1. I do believe that he is a little premature in his assessment.
    If you are a Blazer fan, looking at the last three years with a different line-up every week and no stability what so ever, you would almost have to give both players another year.
    Matthews has been hurt two years in a row. Batum was reduced to the pines two years in a row and has had minor injuries.
    If we can be a middling Western Conference team for the next two years I would be happy.
    Everybody is new, we have a lot of gelling to do and minor adjustments to the roster, but first lets find out what we have, before we start blowing it up some more.
    Plus so far LMA has not mentioned jumping ship.

    by Hg on 9/11/2012 3:18 PM
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