Friday, December 30th, 2011 at 4:10 pm  |  22 responses

Nicolas Batum ‘Intimidated’ By Teammate Gerald Wallace’s Strong Start

Nicolas Batum is struggling out of the gates this season, and according to his coach Nate McMillan, he’s not putting up enough of a fight to regain his playing time. From the Oregonian: “If we are being straight here, Batum is feeling sorry for himself. He has been intimidated by the impressive start of teammate Gerald Wallace, who is starting in front of Batum. And Batum doesn’t yet have it in him to fight for his share of playing time and spotlight. We all know that he has a little vinegar in him, just ask the Lakers’ Pau Gasol, who two years ago was dunked on twice by Batum, the second one accompanied by Batum flashing two fingers in Gasol’s face. Of all the good guys on the Blazers, Batum is probably the nicest. I like to describe him as having a pure soul. The only problem is sometimes that persona seeps onto the court. If the Blazers are ever going to be more than just a playoff team, they need Batum to stop feeling sorry for himself, stop being so nice, and start going a little Gasol on opponents. ‘As I’ve said to him: ‘Don’t defer,’ Blazers coach Nate McMillan said Thursday. ‘Gerald has come in and become the starter, but I want him to approach it as: ‘I want that position back.’ I want (Batum) to be assertive.’ [...] He is averaging 10.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in just more than 23 minutes a game. Last year he averaged 31.5 minutes. Part of his dip in minutes has been his play: He is shooting 9-for-28 from the field (32.1 percent), and part of it has been the Blazers are a deeper, more talented team this year. ‘There are a lot more players,’ Batum said. ‘I just have to stay focused.’ The focus should be in rediscovering the confidence he had in France, where he was one of the best players in the Euroleague. Instead, it appears Batum is focusing more on what his teammates are doing, and comparing himself to their results. ‘I learned things (in France), but Gerald is playing like an All-Star,’ Batum said. ‘And Jamal (Crawford) has played great. L.A. has been great. I try … I try to play great game, but …’ He reasons that he is used to being a starter, where he warms up and goes straight into the game. He reasons that he is used to playing more. ‘I just have to readjust,’ Batum said.”

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  • http://slamonline BossTerry

    Hope he uses it as motivation and becomes the NBA’s 6th man of the year.. (Anything other than complaining about limited minutes, lack of starting, and demanding a trade.) 3-0 bhatches :) :) :)

  • http://www.slamonline.com Tarzan Cooper

    Crash is playing great. Always been a favorite player of mine.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gd16MTKpH5k ab40

    Portland and Batum will be fine. THey’ll always be even if half the team can’t walk they still find ways to win. McMillan should get an award before his career is over he’s that good with personal.

  • LA Huey

    Interesting. I hope he doesn’t turn into Fernandez 2.0

  • http://shinefluid@aol.com yada

    n*ggaz is soft lol

  • vtrobot

    Good luck @ being more of a man than Gerald. Sh*t ain’t happenin’.

  • fruizm

    @vtrobot….haha word.

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla aka The Black Ron Paul

    ….I talked alot of stuff about Nolan Smith for ROY….with this backcourt I’d be surprised if he gets more than a minute in…I honestly forgot they had signed Raymond Felton this offseason and he’s looked amazing, this Blazers squad is stacked to the very brim. Talent all around, and hungry….they could be a problem

  • dahon

    come to chicago nic

  • boo radley

    i’d rather they kept the jailblazers together!!! at least then they were in articles for ENTERTAINING reasons.

  • http://www.slamonline.com melvin ely

    Crash ain’t taking his spot; Jamal Crawford is. Wallace often slides down to PF late in game and LA plays the five, but now the best guy coming off the bench is Jamal, who’s made a career on being an instant offense sixth man. I feel sorry for Nic, cuz this team is deeeeep.

  • Bigblue

    Doesn’t suprise me that much, hes french

  • http://www.slamonline.com spit hot fiyah

    ^and according to you all french people are………….

  • http://www.yougotdunkedon.com LilKDub503

    The Blazers have a problem that many teams would love to have, but isn’t a great problem: they have too much talent. You really need no more than 9 guys on a team, but the Blazers routinely have 11 guys who can play big minutes and contribute. Thing is, McMillan can only play so many guys so many minutes. Sure, a couple guys get injured (especially in Portland), but it’s typically the chemistry and locker room vibe that kills them, because someone isn’t getting enough PT.

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    ^^ Yeah I know he’s on about some nationalistic stereotypes but Frenchmen in the league have had a tendency of playing down to their abilities…and not only in the NBA, on the world level as well. Among the nations France probably has top 4-5 most talented crop of players. I look at guys like Roddy Beaubois, Johan Petro, and others and I see guys with talent to be great minus that confidence/drive. Roddy in particular (though I know he’s dealt with injury), has the talent to be a better version of Monta Ellis…seriously. I’ve been high on him since I saw some footage of him absolutely destroying out in France maybe 3 years back. Athletically he’s a freak. He can shoot, handle, play D, he can do everything. And he’s probably got the length to play and defend both guard spots and the 3. I always wonder what if a guy like Roddy had the confidence of a guy like Rudy Fernandez, you know a guy who obviously believes he’s 10x more capable than he actually is…..you’d have something special

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    According to Bigblue all french people are intimidated by GW lol

  • burnt_chicken

    say, isn’t that Tony Parker guy French? or Ronny Turiaf? OR JOAKIM FREAKING NOAH? uhh…I suggest that there may be flaws in your logic regarding weak-minded French players, “gentlemen”.

  • matt

    My raps will give you Andrea Bargnani and Alabi for Batum and Greg Oden. Batum would definitely start on the Raptors, would be a nice defensive presence to counter DeRozan’s offensive presence. Bargs’ flaws would be covered by LA,Crash and Camby.

  • http://www.slamonline.com spit hot fiyah

    @ max that doesn’t make sense, i once knew a french guy and he probably didn’t even know who gw is

  • vtrobot

    The Black Ron Paul. Oh man. Thank you Black Rick. Happy New Year, SLAM fam.

  • http://dodgers.com Joey E.

    Someone needs to get Paul Pierce’s big ass a wheelchair.

  • http://slamonline.com Stephen Gram

    I think Batum has caught the Fernadez bug. Trade him now before he goes bust like Rudy and isn’t worth a bench warmer any more. It pains me to say this I am a big Batum fan. I just think he would be happier somewhere else starting and we need an elite point guard (Batum, felton and what ever else it takes for Deron Williams, pull the trigger!). Also, if thre is anyway we can get our hands on Aaron Brooks from China as soon as he is free I think we should go for it.