Aside from bringing in Jeremy Lin's hair, perhaps no move embodies the win-now nature of the Charlotte Hornets' offseason. The risk is somewhat substantial considering Nicolas Batum is in the final year of his deal, but it was evident by the price they paid -- Gerald Henderson and Noah Vonleh -- that they didn't think those guys were a part of the future anyway. Here, now, in 2015, Batum is reunited with Richard Cho, who was his general manager in Portland. Whether or not that has any bearing on Batum staying in Charlotte we don't know yet, but it's an interesting storyline.
By now, most of us knew Batum was attempting to play through a rest injury last season. Heck, it seemed to be what all of the Blazers were doing, including LaMarcus Aldridge and playing on a thumb in need of surgery. Anyway, Batum's numbers plummeted last season. His field goal percentage
dropped plummeted bottomed out to 40 percent after finishing ninth overall in the NBA in field goal percentage. Before last year, Batum had shot below 36 percent once in his previous six years, and he still shot 34.5 percent. More, and more it seems as if last season was an anomaly. Or so it seems, we don't really know yet.
If you want to go off of preseason -- which you shouldn't -- you might be worried. Batum has made just two of his nine three point attempts this preseason, but it's a small sample, and most of his misses were the shot falling short-- likely due to not having his legs after the summer and travel. Really, though, it's still something I would wait until the regular season to put a lot of stock into.
Room to Improve
I mean, all he really has to do to improve from last season is to make shots again. Looking at the shot charts above you saw that Batum was missing more than a few more threes. Should Batum hit rediscover his shot at the rim, and even from midrange (he can be elite from certain areas on the floor), his season should be just fine.
Basketball Runs in Batum's Family
Nicolas Batum's father, Richard, played 10 years of professional basketball in France. Sadly, Richard suffered an aneurysm during a game in 1991 when Nicolas was very young. Like his father, Nicolas played down low at first, but eventually moved down to the perimeter as he got older.
The Hornets are going to rely on Batum to stretch the floor and open up space for everyone else to operate. That's the obvious one, however. With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist essentially out for the year, it will be up to Batum to pester the other team's best wing player defensively. It's not going to be easy to replace a player who makes your offense and defense better, but Batum is the best bet. Fortunately, Batum is a capable defender, and has historically been a more productive offensive player.