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The One Miami Heat Player Who Deserves More Credit

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 20:  Shane Battier #31 of the Miami Heat reacts after hitting a three-point basket against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on February 20, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Peter EmerickSenior Writer IIMarch 23, 2013

The Miami Heat have won 25 straight games, and they are comfortably sitting atop the NBA with a 54-14 overall record.

While a lot of the attention for those accolades goes primarily to LeBron James, and then to Dwyane Wade, there's a player named Shane Battier who deserves a lot more credit than he's currently getting.

It's not that Battier is putting up production that rivals that of LeBron or Wade, with just 6.5 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.

It's not even his efficiency—43.2 percent from beyond the arc—that is deserving of higher praise.

Battier needs more credit for the Heat's most recent success because he provides the emotional stability that holds Miami together.

Not only has Battier been here before, as a member of the Houston Rockets when they banged out a 22-game winning streak. He's also one of the most disciplined, mature and stable players in the NBA.

If you don't believe me about that, just check out a few seconds or minutes of this interview with Battier after Miami's huge win against the Boston Celtics on March 18.

While I've never been in the Heat's locker room to experience his impact on the overall climate of that space, I imagine that Battier's presence brings a level of calm and peace in a rather fast-paced and stressful environment.

There's no doubt that Battier is a great presence in the locker room, but he's also a major piece of the Heat's dominance on the court as well.

There's a reason why the Heat won their first NBA title once Battier put on a Heat jersey.

While guys like LeBron and Wade are flying around the court throwing down high-flying alley-oops, Battier is spacing the floor perfectly, taking charges, playing lock-down defense and forcing turnovers.

Take for example, his spectacular play on "Mr. 43" Jeff Green with the game on the line. While the referees blew the call, Battier made a defensive play that 95.5 percent of other players couldn't make without fouling.

Battier won't ever get MVP chants when he steps up to the foul line, and his name won't come up in any regular-season awards. But that doesn't mean he isn't integral to the Heat's success.

Heat fans, take a minute today and be thankful for having Battier on your team, because he is truly at the foundation of Miami's remarkable success.

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