Nicolas Batum is having a down season for the Blazers, and his dip in production has been one reason why Portland hasn’t been able to make the leap to the level of legitimate contender this year.
His scoring and field goal percentage have dropped significantly, and Batum has admitted to being fatigued.
But contrary to what might make the most sense for his NBA career, Batum will once again play for the French national team this summer — which may enrage some fans of the Blazers.
He knows his decision will seem perplexing. He knows some Trail Blazers fans will be upset. He knows there will be animosity and debate on internet message boards and talk radio. …
But he also knows his country needs him.
So Batum has decided to play for the French National Team this summer, when it will try to defend its EuroBasket Championship on native soil in August. …
“I have to fight for my country,” he said.
It isn’t just fatigue that’s caught up with Batum this year, after leading France to a bronze medal in FIBA World Cup play last summer. There have been medical issues, too — Batum underwent platelet rich plasma injections in his knee, and also spent time dealing with a wrist injury.
But plenty of foreign-born players feel an incredible sense of loyalty to their home country, and Batum is merely one more that places additional significance on playing for his national team, despite how it may ultimately affect his ability to perform in the following NBA season.