Blazers evaluate road trip, expectations
CHARLOTTE -- Nicolas Batum appears to be the type of person that if you gave him a cookie, he’d ask for a glass of milk. If you offered him an inch, he’ll take a mile.
Once Batum figures out how to do something, he wants to do it more and more and more. That has been the case lately with his newfound obsession with pulling down rebounds.
The lean small forward has 143 rebounds in the month of March, 23 more boards than the next player. Eight out of this month’s 11 games, Batum has reached double figures in rebounding and notched 18 twice.
Prior to his love fest with rebounds, it was his assists that he cherished so dearly as the team’s best playmaker. Now, he’s going steady with a different statistic.
After the Trail Blazers defeated the Wizards on Wednesday, a game Batum brought down a game-high 14 rebounds, he admitted he is addicted to boards and says what’s helped him during this span is taking on the mentality of Minnesota’s All-Star power forward.
“I’m getting a little bit addicted,” Batum told to CSNNW.com. “Now I understand how Kevin Love thinks on the court. Not being the biggest and tallest player, I see what Kevin Love has to go through. You have to be willing to mix it up with the big guys.
“So it was one game, then it was two games. Then I was like, ‘Okay, I can really do this.’ So I started doing it even more. It does get addictive.”
At 6-8, 200 pounds, he’s not the ideal board-grabber. Dennis Rodman is probably the best comparison, but that’s pretty much it. Even though coming down with the basketball has become a trend of late, Batum is as shocked as anyone to see his rebounding numbers increasing with each game.
“I don’t know why, “ Batum said with a smile. “I’ve never rebounded the ball like this before in my life. Never like this. I have surprised myself.”
So now the all-important question: would you rather get an assist or grab a rebound?
“That’s a hard one,” he said, and then began to ponder it. “When you get assists, you score. Most times, if you get a rebound it completes a defensive stop. I’ll just take both.”
With LaMarcus Aldridge out of the lineup with a back contusion, Batum said he felt a responsibility to pick up the slack on the glass. Can this pace continue once the team’s three-time All-Star returns?
“We’ll see,” he said. “We’ll see.”