Nic Batum Checkup

I hadn’t thought about it before, but this is Nicolas Batum’s first full season as a starter for the Blazers. Though he technically started nearly every game his rookie season, he only played 18.4 minutes per game and shared a lot of time with Rudy Fernandez and Travis Outlaw. Outlaw…shudder.

I wrote about how he had improved greatly toward the end of last season, and how he’d maintained his efficiency even after becoming a starter. Now it’s time to see if that improvement stuck.

Nic Batum Checkup - March 2013I think we can say decidedly that it stuck. The 2011-2012 season shows only the 34 games that Batum started. This year, his minutes have increased even more than when he because a starter last season, and he is using an additional possession to himself each game (Usage). It is obvious that Batum is being asked to create more, as his assists have skyrocketed to 4.9 per game and his turnovers to 2.8. Despite the increased workload, his assist-to-turnover ratio has nearly doubled, his TS% is up a bit, and he hasn’t lost anything noticeable on his rebounds and blocks per 36 minutes.

For reference, Batum’s 57.2% true shooting percentage puts him right behind the likes of Dwayne Wade and O.J. Mayo, and just ahead of one Dwight Howard. Sure Howard is having a down year, but, shit, all the guy does is dunk. Basically, Batum has assumed a larger role in the offense than ever before, and he is giving Portland some of the most efficient play of his career.

Who next? Aldridge? Hickson? Matthews?

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3 Responses to Nic Batum Checkup

  1. Drooo says:

    Does him being ahead of Howard say more about Nic or more about how shitty Howard is at free throws?

    • Matthias Kullowatz says:

      More about their discrepancy in free throws. Taking free throws out of the TS% equation is the same thing as using “Effective FG percentage,” and Batum drops to 52.5% while Howard actually goes up a little to 57.4%.

      Though Howard’s FT% is down to a career-low 48.4%, the formula is very lenient toward poor shooting from the charity stripe. TS% essentially assumes every 2.3 free throws equates to one possession used, so if Howard were to even shoot about 44% from the line, that would represent a 50% TS% on it’s own.

      To match his eFG%, Howard would have to shoot just 50.5% from the free throw line. And if he had shot free throws at even 70% this season, Howard’s TS% would be 63.4%.

      In the end, 57% for a SG/SF type is really good.

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