Blazer Banter

Doolittle: Batum top-3 small forward in the NBA

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Bradford Doolittle of ESPN.com’s insider section has been putting together midseason positional rankings using the WARP (Wins Above Replacement Player) formula used by fellow ESPN-er Kevin Pelton.

Doolittle ranked Wesley Matthews as the number four shooting guard earlier this week and Damian Lillard as the number five point guard.

Today, the small forwards list was released with Nicolas Batum, who had a triple-double last night, coming in third place behind Indiana’s Paul George and Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant.

3. Nicolas BatumPortland Trail Blazers

TrueWARP: 9.8 | 2013-14 WARP: 3.9 | Overall Rank: 21

In his sixth season, we have to give up on the idea that Batum is going to put up the kind of offensive numbers you expect from a true foundation player. Instead, he’s become one of the NBA’s elite role players, and the ascension of Wesley Matthews as Batum’s wing partner makes that more than OK for the Trail Blazers. Batum has been used as more of a playmaker, soaking up some of that responsibility from Damian Lillard, but his spike in assists has been somewhat undermined by an uptick in turnovers.

Read the rest here.

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He started writing about NBA Basketball for SwishScout.com before being the Sports Reporter Intern for TrailBlazers.com. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

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