Nicolas Batum has heard the whispers from the naysayers. And he knows the ones who haven't yet announced their critiques are laying in the weeds, waiting for an opportune moment to pounce. Yes, Batum has lived up to that lofty offseason contract — and then some — during a season-opening 11-game stretch in which he is playing the best basketball of his career. But, the NBA season is only three weeks old. There's plenty of time for this feel-good story to go south. "It's what people say about me and what people too scared to say it think about me: 'Yeah, he's been good, but it's only been 11 games. We're going to see the old Nicolas Batum soon," the Trail Blazers' starting small forward said. "But I'm going to try to avoid that. I'm not the old Nicolas Batum." He certainly doesn't look like the old Nicolas Batum. In a span of 22 days, Batum already has established new career highs in scoring (35 points, twice), steals (six vs. Houston), blocks (five vs. San Antonio) and field goals made (13 vs. Houston). With averages of 20.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.09 blocks per game, Batum isn't just averaging career highs in nearly every statistical category, he's also among the NBA leaders in multiple areas.
The 'old Nicolas Batum' is a distant memory as Blazers prepare to host the Timberwolves
Oregonian | Nov 23