Draft Buzz - Nicolas Batum Officially Out of 2007 NBA Draft
[img_assist|nid=3906|title=Nicolas Batum|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=250|height=375]By Aran Smith
French wing Nicolas Batum made it official today saying he will not enter his name into the 2007 NBA draft.
Batum will return to Le Mans for a second season and will surely be the most sought after international player next season. He will have a good chance to be the highest drafted French player of all time next year.
The thought of sitting on the bench and collecting an NBA paycheck just didn't sit right with the young French star, so he will postpone his decision to enter the draft for at least another year.
Batum needs to get stronger and further develop his skills playing against professionals, and another season playing at LeMans should better prepare him for the move to the NBA.
He had an excellent performance playing for the World Team in the Hoop Summit matching up against the top American players in his age group, finishing with a game high 23 points. He displayed his tremendous upside with a number of breathtaking dunks as well as his ability to shoot from outside. His 7-1 wingspan gives him a huge advantage over similar sized players.
Batum struggled for playing time in his first professional season at Le Mans averaging 4.3 ppg over the 30 game season. But it was mostly due to lack of experience that he didn't see more time. Towards the end of the season, his playing time and production began to show improvement.
Most scouts considered him as a lock to be a lottery pick with a real chance to go top 10. He is currently projected to go in the top 5 of the 2008 draft.
Batum also mentioned being able to play for Team France during the summer weighed into his decision, but ultimately it came down to his lack of readiness. The decision should end up being a great one as so many recent European prospects have seen their careers derailed by heading to the NBA before establishing themselves in Europe.
*Special thanks to Max Weber for helping to break this story.