Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr recently revealed that the Golden State front office pursued Clippers forward Nicolas Batum in the 2020 offseason, and he praised Batum’s unique skillset.
“We tried hard on Batum (this summer) ourselves,” Kerr said during his pregame press conference prior to his team’s matchup with the Clippers. “We've admired him from afar...Guys like Batum are hard to find. I thought that was probably the best signing of the offseason."
Kerr’s praise is unquestionably accurate when looking at Batum’s numbers so far this season. After coming off of many forgettable years in Charlotte where it seemed that Batum would soon be out of the league, he has completely rehabilitated his value in LA. Batum is currently averaging nine points a game on insane efficiency—47% from the field and 44% from downtown. He’s also an excellent tertiary ball mover and has great size as a defensive wing (though his foot speed leaves something to be desired). This mold of player would be desirable to any team, but he would’ve been a prototypical Warriors’ role player had Golden State swiped him out from under the Clippers after his Charlotte buyout.
If there has been one flaw in Batum’s game so far this season, it’s his unwillingness to attempt more threes—Batum takes just over four per game in nearly 30 minutes of action. Teams understand that he’s one of the best corner shooters in the league based on percentage, and never leave him open, so he’s still doing his job in a way.
Perhaps if Batum did end up signing with Golden State, playing next to Steph Curry would’ve encouraged him to engage his inner Klay Thompson and start chucking.