Houston Rockets: Did the Team Actually Get Better by Trading Away Shane Battier?

James Schmidt@@james_schmidt1Correspondent IMarch 7, 2011

HOUSTON - MAY 08:  Guard Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers takes a shot against Shane Battier #31 of the Houston Rockets in Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on May 8, 2009 in Houston, Texas. 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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Rockets traded away Shane Battier to Memphis in a deal that brought Hasheem Thabeet and a 2013 lottery-protected pick.

Examining this deal you think: OK, so they got a huge draft bust and a 2013 first-rounder and they probably got worse because Battier was their best defender.

But could they have actually gotten better dumping their (and one of the league's) best defenders?

First, let's go over a couple of reasons why they didn't get better:

  • Leadership: Battier was the guy everybody looked up to in the locker room. One of them most respected and well-spoken players in the league, everybody looked up to him for inspiration or if they needed some help with an aspect of the game.
  • Hard Work: Battier was constantly watching game tape and doing whatever he could to prepare himself for his challenge the next game.
  • Defense: Battier has the reputation for being one of the best defenders in the league and almost propelled the Rockets to defeating the Lakers in a seven-game playoff series by shutting down Kobe and making him almost toxic to his team some nights.

How could they have possibly gotten any better by trading that away for a bust and a draft pick? Let's take a look.

  • Chase Budinger: Chase was drafted in the second round of the 2009 draft and had a great rookie season, averaging nine points per game. He is averaging 15.6 points per game since the trade and is shooting with great efficiency from three-point land. He has really added another dimension to the Rockets' already powerful offense, something Battier couldn't do.
  • Terrence Williams: Terrence was selected eighth overall in the 2009 draft and was traded to the Rockets for a first-round draft pick. He has gotten almost no playing time since coming to Houston and upset Rockets fans have started using the hashtag #FreeTwill on Twitter. He is a skilled defender and is an athletic freak who can create off the dribble and is an excellent passer and rebounder. He's like a poor man's Andre Iguodala.

So, did the Rockets get better?

They've only played five games since the deadline, so you can't really tell. But so far, it looks like it.

You can vote and tell me what you think and comment down below as well.


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