Doolittle: Batum top-3 small forward in the NBA
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 Batum, Portland 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.
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