Batum: Different mindset?
DALLAS – The Portland Trail Blazers (31-9) are currently sitting at the top spot in the Western Conference standings. Keep that in mind.
Over in the Eastern Conference, the Indiana Pacers (32-7) are the top conference team. There has been talk that the Pacers might actually get three representatives in the All-Star game on Feb. 16 in New Orleans – Paul George, Roy Hibbert, and Lance Stephenson.
This year Stephenson is averaging 13.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 6.6 assists as one of the team’s best perimeter defenders. He also has three triple-doubles.
Nicolas Batum is averaging 13.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 6.8 assists for the season and is Portland’s most versatile defender. He has two triple-doubles and has fallen just short for more a handful of time this season.
LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard are virtual locks to be in New Orleans playing on that Sunday. So when asked Saturday night if he feels like he deserves to be an All-Star, the small forward didn’t hesitate to give you his thoughts.
“Yes, of course,” Batum said to CSNNW.com. “If they have to pick one small forward behind K.D. (Kevin Durant), I think it should be me.”
“Because of the numbers that I have and the way I play with this team,” he responded. “I got two triple-doubles and I should have about five or six. And we’re 31-9, maybe the best team in the West so far. I think it’ll be tough to get three All-Stars because Damian and L.A. are going to be in it. And our coach, too. But I deserve consideration.”
There’s still more games left to play for Batum to make his case but he says if Portland finishes as the top team in the conference heading into the All-Star break, he believes Portland should be awarded with three representatives.
“If we’re in first, yes, I believe we should get three,” Batum said. “If I do, I would be proud to represent Rip City and France.”
Lillard and Robin Lopez say Batum is the glue to the team, both stating he doesn’t get the credit he deserves and adds that he’s a vital component to what they’ve accomplished. According to Lillard, Batum should be there.
“If you ask me, I say yeah he’s an All-Star and he should be there,” Lillard said. “If you look at what he does for this team, he fills every statsheet up. He’s one of the top small forwards in the league so without question he should be there.”
The coaches will decide who rounds out the reserves for each conference. There’s no doubt about it, continual winning with help Batum’s cause. If he does get voted in, you’ll know the coaches did the right thing by placing an importance on winning rather than flash.
“I want to be there,” Batum said.