Nicolas Batum is the most underrated player in the NBA

Nicolas Batum, LA Clippers. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
Nicolas Batum, LA Clippers. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports /

Nicolas Batum is a pivotal piece for the LA Clippers.  After posting career lows across the board in Charlotte, Batum was signed by the LA Clippers on a veteran minimum contract in 2020. After his first few games for the Clippers, it was clear what type of impact Batum would have on both ends of the floor.

Not only is Nicolas Batum one of the best shooters in the NBA for his size, but he’s also one of its best defenders. Batum’s value on the defensive end is unreal. Head Coach Tyronn Lue loves to play small ball against teams that are reluctant with their big men. A player like Batum is perfect for this strategy as he is 6’8” and can shoot like no other.

After showing what he is capable of, Batum recently signed a two-year, $22 million contract which is fully guaranteed. Although Batum deserved to get paid, this deal is an absolute steal for the LA Clippers. Retaining Batum was one of the biggest priorities this offseason for the Clippers.

With the LA Clippers entering their most important season in franchise history, Nicolas Batum will have a significant role. He’ll not only be asked to make a strong impact on both ends of the floor, but he will also be asked to help develop the younger guys on the Clippers. Batum is one of the biggest reasons second-round picks Terance Mann and Brandon Boston Jr have been able to succeed at such a high level.

Let’s dive in and see what exactly Nicolas Batum does that makes him so valuable.

Nicolas Batum is the best 3-and-D player in the NBA

Nicolas Batum had another phenomenal year for the LA Clippers last season. Batum managed to average 8.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game while shooting 46.3% from the field and 40% from the 3-point line in only 24.8 minutes per game. Although these stats may not be eye-catching, Batum’s impact goes far beyond the general statistics.

Defense wins games, and Nicolas Batum does just that — defends well. Batum is one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA. Last season, he averaged 2.1 deflections and 5.4 contested shots per game. Additionally, he also had a steal percentage of 24.6 and a block percentage of 27.6 on a defensive rating of 109.8.

Jrue Holiday, one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA, averaged 2.7 deflections per game on 6.3 contested shots per game with a defensive rating of 109.7. Holiday also had a steal percentage of 28.7 and a block percentage of 16.4. This shows that Batum is on the same level as some of the best defenders in the NBA.

Nicolas Batum is also a great 3-point shooter. Not only did Batum shoot 40% from three last season, but he also shot 40.3% on “catch and shoot” 3-pointers. A player like John Wall, a great playmaker, can dribble and kick the ball out to Batum, who can confidently knock the shot down. This concept is similar for players like Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, who will have a heavy load on offense.

Players like Nicolas Batum make life easier for everyone. He can guard the opposing team’s best player and make their job extremely difficult. After Leonard and George, Batum may be the third-most impactful player on the Clippers.

Next. A player that would instantly make the Clippers title favorites. dark

With everything on the line next season, Batum and the LA Clippers are in the perfect situation to win it all. It’s only a matter of time before the Clippers are celebrating their first-ever championship in franchise history.