While the world thought there was at least a chance the 76ers might take another awkward trade stalemate to the February NBA Trade deadline like they did with Ben Simmons once upon a time, Daryl Morey recently worked deep into the night and into Halloween morning, to strike the big deal with the L.A. Clippers.
James Harden is now a Clip. Robert Covington is already back in Philly and helping the Sixers secure a four-game winning streak. Marcus Morris Sr. has yet to play, but now France Native Nic Batum is back in town after dealing with personal matters. The shiny new draft picks and swaps are sitting in Morey’s newly replenished coffers. Philly sits at 4-1, second only to the undefeated Boston Celtics in the East. Jayson Tatum’s Celts sit at 5-0.
But the Sixers now get a boost. According to a report by Chris B. Haynes of TNT and Bleacher Report, Batum “has returned to Philadelphia after dealing with a personal matter and is expected to be available to make his debut Monday against the Washington Wizards.”
New Sixers wing Nicolas Batum has returned to Philadelphia after dealing with a personal matter and is expected to be available to make his debut Monday against the Washington Wizards, league sources tell @NBAonTNT, @BleacherReport. pic.twitter.com/Zo0tSCGnf1— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) November 5, 2023
Batum spent the last three seasons in L.A. as a Clipper, playing both the wing and front court for coach Tyronn Lue. He averaged 6.0 points, 3.8 boards, 1.6 dimes and over a half block and half steal per game, in just under 22 minutes per contest last year.
Per 36, his steals and block numbers translate to 1.1 steals, and .9 blocks, not shabby for a guy who has also connected on 40 percent, 40 percent and 39 percent from distance over his last three seasons, respectively.
You guessed it, that gives him some 3-and-D powers!
Batum is no star, but the fact of the matter is the vet represents the perfect role player for the Sixers, as our Dan Olinger argued quite persuasively. He can slide over and protect the rim from the weak side in a pinch, he can step in and draw a charge, he’s always been a super unselfish player who makes the right pass, and he can stick the open J. How much more do you want here? While most of us discuss the value of the picks the team got in exchange for The Beard, it’s probably not talked about enough that guys like Batum and Cov are actually kinda #good.
The best part here is that Batum has actually beaten both Alec Burks and Glen Robinson III to Philly, even after attending to personal things. A top secret source says both Burks and Robinson III are still making their way to Philadelphia after Elton Brand acquired the duo from Golden State in the year 2020. JK, IFYKYK.
As noted, the Sixers are on a four-game win streak, and Batum’s presence should only help bolster what’s an already pretty deep rotation. Even after the team ended the game early vs. the Phoenix Suns and cleared their bench, we still spotted a couple of role players out there. There are no proverbial “bums” on this team to put in for garbage time. And now there will be even less with Batum in the rotation. Of course, Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey are playing like All-Stars. But Kelly Oubre and Tobias Harris have absolutely stood out also. The chemistry and ball movement, the added cutting coach Nurse has implemented have already paid dividends.
If Batum can make his debut Monday, it’ll provide a lift, and give Joel another dude to speak some French within that locker room. You know the Sixers oddly struggle vs. the Wizards during the regular season so maybe Batum can go ham and help them break that pattern.
I wonder if Batum will give Jo any shit for picking the US over France to rep in the Olympics next summer. There will probably be some French swears being bandied on the team bus rides now for that one.