The Charlotte Hornets are currently in an uncertain situation regarding eight-year veteran Nicolas Batum. It was reported earlier that the forward has been dealing with an extreme migraine headache.
— Hoops Rumors (@HoopsRumors) March 16, 2017
Batum has missed the previous two outings for Charlotte, and will undergo CT scanning for more details. If he were to miss any extended time, the Hornets will be missing a reliable scoring option — in which they’ve desperately needed to compliment NBA All-Star scoring guard Kemba Walker.
In the 2016-17 season Batum is averaging 15.4 points, 5.9 assists (both career-highs), 6.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals — shooting 40% from the field, 35% from three and 86% from the foul-line. He’s played 63 games overall, which is the second-highest on Charlotte’s roster behind Walker (67).
Batum, now in his second season with the Hornets, has certainly been the team’s most versatile player, as he’s been known for throughout his entire career. And to believe that he’s still just 28 years old, meaning that there’s plenty left for him to provide for winning-teams.
The Houston Rockets drafted Batum 25th overall, but a three-team deal to send him to the Portland Trail Blazers took place afterwards. In his eight seasons with the Blazers (481 games) Batum came down with 11.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists, on 44% field-goals, 36% three-point and 83% free-throw.
In Batum’s place, the Hornets will need increased production from Jeremy Lamb, Marco Bellineli and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in order to fill in the void. On Monday’s 109-115 loss to the Chicago Bulls, Lamb dropped 26 points (10-17 shooting, 3-5 from three) while starting for Batum.
Overall, the Hornets have a tough schedule ahead of them against higher-seeds in the Eastern Conference. After back-to-back losses against Chicago and Indiana, they’ll face the Washington Wizards on Saturday, the Atlanta Hawks next Monday and the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers the following Friday.
And while they’re on the outside looking-in, Charlotte is beginning to slump-away towards missing the postseason, as they hold a record of 29-39, 11th in the East. They continue to struggle offensively, as they hold a season average of 44% field-goals, which is 27th amongst all 30 teams. And now without Batum, who can score and make plays for them, it’ll be hard to find if the Hornets have any aspirations.