Video/Transcript: Nicolas Batum Exit Interview
By caseyholdahl Posted in: Blazers, NicolasBatum
Talk about how the season went for you this year.
That was an interesting season for the team and for myself. What happened last summer, we changed the team, the coaching staff, new players, everything. So that was an interesting season. Like I said last night, people don't really expect something from us this year because we've got a young team. That was kind of new. If you don't count the last 13 games when we were out of playoffs already, what we showed before that, we showed some great thing. I'm really excited for the future. Last year we had a bad season, but we knew it wouldn't be the same team next year. But we showed this year we do some mistakes, we lost bad games and we won good games, too. That's exciting for next year because I don't think the mistakes we made this year will be the same mistakes next year.
How much did injuries slow you down this season?
I knew I had to perform because of the contract I just signed last year, so I was ready to go and was a good challenge for me. I tried to show I can play, you can trust me. That's a good thing for them because I can be a good player in this league. Then I started to get some worries about my wrist in January so I struggled a little bit. I just can't wait because now I have to wait five months, almost four or five months to get back here. Just try to have a good summer, work on my game and be ready for next year.
How will this summer be different from last summer knowing you'll be back in Portland?
It will be great, trust me. No more pressure, no more talk this summer, so I'm going to be free almost. Mind free. And I'm going to be back in June here to work on my game. I planned that will the coach already so I'll be back June 3rd to July 4th, workouts on my game to get ready for next year.
What in-particular do you want to work on?
Like, shooting and ball handling, one-on-one, to create my shot. If you look at all the best small forward in this league, Lebron, Melo, Kevin Durant, even Paul George this year, all those guys, when I guard, those are the best one-on-one players in the league, so I know that's the next step for me. If I want to be an all-star, like a good player, I have to be able to create my shot for this team.
How would you describe your defense this year?
I could do better than that. I talked to the coach and he say that's the only weakness I had this year was my defense. I have do a better job next year and I really focus on that. I'm going to start playing national team this summer so I'm going to try to focus on my defense to get ready and add something to be a good defensive player next year.
Would you think about not playing on the national team this year?
No. No. No. We start training camp in three months. 90 days. I've got time to rest. Then I'm going to start playing and be ready for next season. I'm going to rest for the next three months. I'm good.
Aldridge made a comment that it would be two years before the Blazers were a real playoff contender. Do you think that timeline is correct?
I mean, maybe because when you watch OKC a couple years ago. I remember my rookie year when we played my rookie year against OKC, we beat them by 30 every time. The next season they got the 8 spot on the playoffs, maybe one or two years, yeah maybe. We showed this year we beat good teams. We beat New York, we beat Miami, we beat Memphis, we beat all of those team. And we lost against Sacramento, Detroit, Washington, all those teams. If we focus and we practice, have a good training camp, we don't do the same mistake we do this year, I mean I may be crazy but we can go for the Top 5 next year in the Western Conference. That's going to be our goal for next year.
How would you evaluate Terry Stotts' performance in his first year as head coach?
He did a pretty good job. The year that Damian had, LA had, Wes, JJ, me and the young guys. Victor was pretty good despite not knowing anything about the NBA. He ended up playing pretty good at the end of the season. He put us on the court and tried to talk to us to make us believe in ourselves and that's what I like about him.
What do you think this team needs to acquire to make the playoffs?
I don't know. That's not my job, actually, to bring someone in.
Do you want to help recruit free agents to come to Portland?
Yeah. I just talked to Neil a little bit. If you want me to have some talk about that and the draft, too.
How did you perform as a leader this season?
I have to do a better job on that, be more vocal on and off the court.