Originally written on Oregon Sports News  |  Last updated 11/18/14
Nba_trailblazers_vs_d993
During the offseason, there was chatter all across Portland and all around the league about whether Nicolas Batum was worth a $40 million dollar contract. Well as of November 16th, he has quieted a lot of that chatter. The big crack on Batum has always been inconsistency and shrinking in big games. So far this season, he has been spectacular, especially against Houston on Friday night. After the dust settled from the overtime victory, Batum had an All-Star caliber stat-line. He racked up a new career high 35 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 blocks and a steal. Down the stretch, he made huge plays to help the Blazers win. In overtime, Batum made a huge block on James Harden that really turned up the volume in the Rose Garden. I realize this is only one game and his consistency as a scorer can still be questioned but this season he has been filling up the stat sheet like very few do. He is such a factor in every aspect of the game. His defense on Harden and Chandler Parsons was on point all night to go along with his 13-19 shooting. The last year or so, I have done very little to hide the fact that I am a Batum believer and I'm not going to start now. I really do think he can fill a lot of the void that Brandon Roy left on this team. I think Batum even adds more to the team on the defensive end of the floor than Roy ever did. Batum was MVP of the game Friday night but that shouldn't overshadow the fact the Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge had huge games as well. Lillard finished with 27 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. He also sent shockwaves through Jeremy Lin's ankles when he made him look absolutely silly on a crossover step back at the end of the fourth quarter. Aldridge finished with 29 points and 6 rebounds in a very solid game. He shot 11-19 from the field and 7-9 from the line. His shot selection was much more solid than it has in games past and getting to the line is going to be a key to Blazer victories all year. As the season goes on, I will still preach that Batum is a very, very solid building block for this franchise. This night though, I was blessed to be a spectator in a very rowdy Rose Garden and witness along with thousands, the best game of his career. His game is in an upward swing and I really think he will be the NBA Most Improved player this year. Garrett Thornton is on Twitter. Follow him at @PortlandGarrett
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Wolves trade Corey Brewer to the Rockets

Yankees trade Prado to Marlins for Eovaldi in 5-player deal

Brandon Browner fined $8K for throwing Brandon Gibson to turf

Report: Sharper, NFLers called spiked drinks 'horny juice'

Rex Ryan: My wife could coach Tom Brady

Jim Harbaugh won in laser tag by 'hunting' 10-year-old kid

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Eddie Lacy is ‘very blind,’ refuses to wear goggles

Michael Phelps pleads guilty to DUI, gets probation

NFL scouts not in love with Amari Cooper?

Report: No teams interested in trading for Lance Stephenson

It is not Chip Kelly's fault if Eagles miss playoffs

FCC declares that 'Redskins' is not obscene

Brady scares the **** out of his teammates celebrating

Longhorn Network’s yule log? Five hours of BEVO

Will a Chiefs WR finally catch a TD in Week 16?

Jon Lester and the Cubs

The Toronto Raptors reveal their new logo

Things Johnny Manziel, Browns can do to avoid a bad repeat

No. 9: What if the Bengals hired Bill Walsh?

Top 10 worst NBA related commercials of all-time

Predicting the winners of the four NFL divisions up for grabs

Game of the week: Indianapolis Colts at Dallas Cowboys

Chase Utley bids farewell to Jimmy Rollins

Are the 49ers going to rebuild or reload?

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Jon Lester and the Cubs

Report: NFL players used 'horny juice'

Top 10 worst NBA related commercials of all-time

Game of the week: Colts vs. Cowboys

Phelps gets probation for DUI

NFL coaches on hot seat in Week 16

The Roy Williams-Terrell Owens horse collar turns 10

Most underpaid NFL players in 2014

Gronk jokes about Brady compliment

In Matt Kemp, did the Dodgers find a pigeon in Padres?

Why the Saints are legit playoff threat

Impact of U.S.-Cuba relations on MLB

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.