The Nicolas Batum trade was a major point of discussion among Charlotte Hornets fans after it went down. It became a battle of future vs now, and rental players vs long term projects. However, one thing that everybody could agree on was that Batum was a very good player and the Hornets would get at worst one very good year out of him.
Sports Illustrated agrees with this, and despite Batum's drop off last season, ranked him very high in their Top 100 NBA Players rankings. They acknowledged he had a poor year shooting last season, but still credited him as one of the better spot up shooting options in the NBA as well as a great slasher, and a player that can put the ball on the floor. Where he received his most praise however was his ability as a creator. Batum is one of the few players in the NBA that can register a 5x5 (getting a five in at least five statistical categories) and it won't be surprising to see. When prospects enter the NBA as a player that can do a little of everything what front offices are hoping for is they become a player like Batum. Someone that truly is good at doing everything.
One of the more underrated parts of Batum's game is his ability as a defender. Nobody thinks he's a bad defender, but he's arguably one of best perimeter defenders in the NBA, and can cause a lot of issues on that end of the floor. He's very long, and will likely have the ability to guard power forwards if needed. However, the Hornets want to play him as a two guard, and his length is likely to be a major issue for many guards across the NBA. Putting him next to MKG on defense, with Kemba Walker speeding around passing lanes for steals, and this could create one of the best perimeter defenses in the NBA.
Batum deserves the recognition as a top 100 NBA player, and had he not been battling injuries last season, he might have been a sure fire top 50 player in these rankings. Hornets fans should be looking forward to what Batum is going to bring this upcoming season.