Did Batum really say that?

As most serious Blazers and Bulls fans know by now, there has been some vehement reaction to a quote Nicolas Batum delivered last night regarding Derrick Rose’s defense. First off, here’s the full quote.

“We know that Derrick Rose is a good offensive player,” Batum said. “But you have to play defense, too. He can’t guard Dre. You gotta play defense. He can’t play defense. So that’s why we put Dre inside and tried to attack him. He did a great job.”

Batum has since denied saying Rose “can’t play defense,” even though those words appeared in multiple publications and have been verified on tape. It’s possible he didn’t mean to say it, or that something got lost in translation, or that he was referring specifically to Rose’s defense against Andre Miller, but the phrase “he can’t play defense” did leave his mouth.

Anyone who has spent time with Batum knows he is one of the most affable, approachable players on Portland’s roster. He is the antithesis of malicious and wants to be liked. If Blazers fans were to play “guess who said THIS about Derrick Rose,” Batum’s name would not likely come up. But while his statement may not seem congruent with his personality, it was made. You can decide what his true feelings are.

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