Just passing this along from yesterday, an interview that DIME Magazine‘s Austin Burton conducted with Blazer forward Nic Batum. There is not much ‘groundbreaking’ news in the brief piece but Batum did have some interesting things to say:
Dime: How does your role with France compare to your role with the Blazers?
NB: I’m more aggressive on offense (for France). The defense is the same like I do in Portland, but I’m probably more aggressive on offense.
Dime: With Martell Webster getting traded and Travis Outlaw leaving, things should be different for you in Portland.
NB: I think it shows they have more trust in me. For the past two years they’ve put me on the court, but with Martell and Travis we all had to play. Now I think they trust me to put on the court for a long time.
Dime: What have you been working on this summer with your game?
NB: Offense. Shooting the ball, dribbling, coming off screens, everything.
It’s good to hear that Batum has spent the majority of his summer working on his offensive game, that can only help him in the future. If Batum can really continue to develop his offensive game, he could cause some major problems for a long time. I think Batum is one of those guys who really benefits from being able to play with his National team. This summer he gets to be one of the ‘superstars’ of Team France and play in a role different than the one in Portland.
All signs point to the 2010-11 season as the time for Batum to finally ‘break out’ so to speak. He’s played so well in his first two seasons that many Blazer fans would argue he’s more untradeable than say a LaMarcus Aldridge (I think both are in that category). His first two years in Portland, Batum has earned the starting spot over previous established players such as Webster and Outlaw. With them now gone, one would think Batum would get the chance to shine.
My only question is what kind of impact will Wesley Matthews have on Batum? There’s speculation that Matthews could challenge Batum for his spot…I don’t see that happening. What could happen is Matthews could absorb some of Batum’s minutes. I don’t see the two being able to play together that much. Or, Matthews could just make Rudy Fernandez irrelevant and this last paragraph wouldn’t matter. What do you think of having both Matthews and Batum on the same squad?