RipCityRevival's Blog

RipCityRevival

Aug 15

Batum Playing SG for France

By RipCityRevival

   Let me preface this by saying that this will never happen on the Blazers team. That isn't the purpose of this post. On 08/15/2010 at MSG in New York, France debuted their line up with Nicolas Batum playing as their starting Shooting Guard. What I noticed first was that he deifinitely looked out of place on the offensive end. He ended up playing a very similar role offensively as he would play on the Blazers. He almost seemed scared of handling the ball. Every time he got the ball beyond the arc with a defender on him he looked to literally hand it off to one of his teammates. Not pass it, hand it off. He did not look comfortable in the offense at that guard spot in the first quarter. Boris Diaw did more ball handling and driving to the hoop than Nicolas did. 

    With all that said, his defensive ability has improved. He had several steals, some pass deflections, and was the regular defensive stopper we expected. I saw him guard everyone from Durant, to Gay, to Rondo and Curry (yes he even shut down Stephan Curry when he was on him). What he has added to his game that I noticed was the willingness to take chances and go for the steal. With the potential of having Oden and Camby, or Camby and Joel guarding the rim behind him he will be more apt to going after the steal without sacrificing points. He no longer has to just be the defensive "stopper" he can now be a game changer. 

    In the second quarter, Nic appeared to become more active. He had a monster two handed jam in traffic over pretty much the entire USA frontline. This was in the middle of a barrage of monster dunks from both sides. For an exhibition game, I couldn't help but get into it and I did find myself rooting, despite my patriotism, for Nicolas Batum and team France. If it were The Olympics it would be a different story. If a certain Power Forward or Shooting Guard would agree to play it would have also swayed my loyalty back to the US. I'm not going to mention any names though. There was one posession near the end of the second quarter where Nic had a very impressive dribbling sequence that led up to a Durant foul. Overall, I was impressed at Batum's new abilities.

    Again, he did not show me that he can be a back up SG for the Blazers, he did not show me that, but he will be much improved and should impress this coming season as the Blazers starting Small Forward. 

    
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