Throughout Shane Battier’s basketball career going back to his days at Duke University (including winning a NCAA Championship in 2001), he showed the ability to be a humble person and leader, and has continued to do this and more throughout his NBA career so far. Although he is not the highest scorer in the NBA, and admits it, Battier knows who he is and what is needed to win.
After being selected by the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2001 NBA Draft, Battier became one of the foundation pieces along with Pau Gasol who was also drafted the same year. The Grizzlies spent a lot of time rebuilding their team until 2004 when they clinched a playoff berth and them once again after trading Pau Gasol to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2008.
In Houston, Battier was a starter and fit in nicely next to Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady and Aaron Brooks. With his ability to defend the other team’s best player or scorer, and making timely baskets, he saw his game elevate. Although his scoring average slipped during his time with the Rockets, it is the other plays (rebounds, hustling for loose balls, picking up offensive fouls and charges) that do not show up in the boxscore on a daily basis but can affect the outcome of a game.
Even in the playoffs, Battier continued to become a solid piece in Houston. The Rocket also changed their roster during Battier’s tenure with the team. Luis Scola and Kevin Martin were added and became starters, while McGrady left the team and Yao Ming missed a lot of time due to injuries. Through all of this, Battier stepped up and rubbed of his hard work style of play on the team’s younger players.
In 2010-11, Battier was entering the last year of his contract, and the Rockets traded him back to the Grizzlies five years later in exchange for Hasheem Thabeet, DeMarre Carroll and a first-round draft pick.
Happy to be back in Memphis, Battier once again used his savvy play to lead the Grizzlies to the postseason and an upset victory of the top seeded San Antonio Spurs team with his clutch shooting. The Grizzlies lost in seven games to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a tough series but proved that they have the right pieces to go even further next year.
Currently as an unrestricted free agent Battier will most likely receive multiple offers from contending teams that are looking to add a shooter and some experience next season. At this time it is too hard to predict where Battier will go in free agency, but he will have to sort through many offers once the current lockout is lifted and the signal to start free agency is handed out.
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