Nicolas Batum has been one of the most unexpected surprises of the short NBA season.
So far, Batum has done everything the Clippers have asked of him. He plays defense, he passes the ball, and he can nail a wide-open three. There was a lot of concern when Marcus Morris developed his knee injury, but Batum has stepped up perfectly in his absence. Nicolas Batum is averaging 8.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in 28.8 minutes this season. He's also shooting a career-high from three: 45.8%.
"He's been great," Kawhi Leonard said. "He's been playing both ends of the floor, knocking down big shots."
The Clippers have surprisingly started the season with a 5-2 record while having the second-toughest schedule in the NBA and missing key players. These include wins over the: Lakers, Nuggets, Blazers, and Suns. Much of that success can be attributed to the play of Batum - he's found himself again with Ty Lue's coaching staff.
Batum said Boris Diaw and Andre Iguodala inspired him to play the way he has this season. For the Clippers, he's perfectly adapted the Swiss Army Knife role.
While Serge Ibaka was voted as the most underrated pickup of the offseason by NBA GMs, it seems like Nicolas Batum may have an early lead on that honor. There isn't a better player in the NBA that's producing at the veteran's minimum, like Nicolas Batum is doing right now.