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Nicolas Batum's foul-drawing ingenuity

Nicolas Batum has already drawn eight fouls on 3-point shots in sixteen games. Here's a quick look at the trickery of the ingenious Batum.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The number of fouls players draw and the particular situations in which those fouls occur is an area in which we certainly could have more data. Free throw shots are up there in value with other good looks, such as corner threes or shot attempts at the rim. Context-specific advanced data on, for example, Chris Paul-like drawn fouls in the backcourt could be useful for determining the savviest players at getting their team easy points or even just getting them nearer to the bonus.

Smart teams specifically try to avoid fouling on defense, which is also an important principle for coach Steve Clifford's Charlotte Hornets. Under Clifford we haven't finished outside of the top-3 in least fouls committed per 100 possessions and we're on our way to a third straight season of doing so (just like the Hornets are contending for a three-peat in ranking number one in defensive rebounding percentage).

While I have no statistical basis for saying so, I just have to believe that Nicolas Batum is leading the league in drawn fouls on 3-point shots this season. Batum has been fouled on eight 3-pointers already. That's one drawn 3-point foul every two games. Currently, Batum is on a five-game streak of drawing at least one foul on a 3-point attempt per game.

Surprisingly enough, Batum hasn't been called for even one "Reggie Miller rule" violation so far. Even though the Frenchman has an uncanny ability to make jumpers where he is far from having a set position — and he'll frequently flail his legs on them — it sure does look like the kick of the leg is intentional on some of these looks.

I believe that Batum is truly tricking the opposition on most of these fouls and not just looking to make the shot. Batum has made 40.4 percent of his 3-point attempts for the season which is even better when you consider some of the tough looks he's made.

Forget facing the side-lines on the gathering hop. That's everyday business for Batum. He can even do the hop with his feet facing the freaking back-court before turning around his shoulder for the made 3-pointer.

Curling off a screen and then knocking the shot down has been his specialty and coincidentally that's where he's drawn each of these nine foul calls (the eight threes + a long two which I also included in the video).

He will stop on a dime, knowing that the defender who is trailing him will have no other possibility than bumping in to him, and will raise up for the shot. The play against Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (at 0:36 in the video) might be the best example of that:

On a couple of other occasions he simply contorts his body just enough to show the referee the drawn contact. All in all, it's some smart stuff from a player who might have the best offensive IQ of a Charlottean since Boris Diaw played for the franchise.