By Antonis Stroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
“The resurrection of Nicolas Batum” could be a fitting title to describe the French wing’s ride so far with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Batum has been averaging 10.4 points (shooting 47-101 on 3-pointers), 4.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists, with his scoring marking an enormous improvement in comparison with his 2019-2020 output (3.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists in 23.0 minutes ). While the disparity in the numbers is impressive, the 31-year-old says that there are zero modifications in the way he plays.
“The crazy part about my game from last year and this year… and people ask me what I do different: Absolutely nothing,” Batum said after the Clippers‘ 124 – 120 loss to the Brooklyn Nets. He finished the game with a season-high-tying 21 points on 7 – 10 shots along with six rebounds.
“I didn’t change anything from the last two years. I didn’t add anything from the last two years. I just play defense and be there for my guys. Ready to shoot the ball and create plays when they ask me to. I just play more. That’s it. And I play on a good team with high expectations. The expectations from this group is different.”
Batum – who broke his finger in the 2019-2020 opener and then struggled to get into rhythm after his return – felt extremely upset with his performances last season. In an interview in March, he reflected at his underwhelming run with the Hornets by saying that “Maybe this is the first time the doubters got it right about me.”
After the Hornets waived him and he was in the process of looking of a new team, Batum was afraid he “might be done if let go,” as he confessed to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes. Now, he’s playing 29.5 minutes per game with a substantial role with the Clippers, while the team is second in the West with a 16 – 6 record.
“I had a great group last year,” Batum said. “Great young guys who are doing great this year. I’m happy for those guys and Charlotte is doing great right now. I’m happy for them, it didn’t work for me. It happens some time on your career. All I had to do is move on, keep working and make sure I have a new change with a new team.”