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[CHRONIC] Battier gives Rockets leadership, smarts

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Rockets34Legend, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. Rockets34Legend

    Rockets34Legend Contributing Member

    Jun 12, 2002
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    Shane Battier might be the key to the Rockets winning in the playoffs, but we’ll get to that later.

    First, though, we take you to courtside Saturday night at Toyota Center and to a scene that was both fascinating and bizarre.

    It played out time and again. As Los Angeles Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy called out a play for his team, Battier would turn to his teammates and describe the play.

    Sometimes, he’d even use the same terminology. Don’t you just hate smart guys?

    “That’s a Duke thing,” Battier said Monday .

    Thanks, Mr. Obvious.

    “No, really,” Battier said. “Coach K taught us that. Even if you don’t know the play, call it out.”


    “It puts doubt in the other team’s mind. Maybe just a little bit. They’re like, ‘Wow, they know what we’re doing.’ ”

    Maybe he should call Mike Krzyzewski and ask him for advice on getting Ron Artest to run the play that’s called.

    Oh stop it. We kid because we care. At this point, we’re not going to complain about anything the Rockets do.

    This season of so much confusion and disappointment is ending on the right note. They have won 17 of 22 and are positioned to get home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

    This franchise hasn’t won a playoff series in 12 years, but it’s not fair to put that burden on this group , which has passed every test.

    Now back to Battier.

    Every NBA team thoroughly scouts every opponent, so it’s not unusual for an opposing defender to know the plays he’ll be working against.

    Battier simply is better at it than almost anyone. He digests the 48-page scouting report when many players stop at the summary.

    Once during the playoffs last season, he said, “I could go down the hall and play for the Jazz tonight.”

    He didn’t sound arrogant. He simply was stating a fact.

    Exudes leadership

    Sometimes it’s hard to understand Battier’s value to the Rockets. He doesn’t score much (6.8 points per game) and isn’t a monster rebounder or great passer.

    He’s just a really smart player, a great defender, one of the people good teams must have.

    “It’s his leadership,” Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. “It’s the way he approaches the game day in and day out. He’s always in the right position on the defensive end. He’s a ball-mover on offense.

    “He’s such a constant for us. Not just for the players, but for the coaching staff. You just rely on him and know he’s going to be there for you.”

    As good as Battier is defensively, as good as he is in getting the ball inside to Yao Ming, the Rockets probably can’t win in the playoffs if he doesn’t contribute something on the offensive end.

    This season has included the worst shooting slump of his career, a six-game stretch in which he made three of 29 from 3-point land.

    He was so cold that when the Los Angeles Lakers came to Toyota Center, they didn’t bother putting a defender on him when he’d drift into the corner.

    That corner is his shooting spot, where he has shot about 60 percent from beyond the arc. For a player who prides himself on doing the right thing and working hard, that slump might have eaten at him more than he would admit.

    Working OT pays off

    All he knew to do was to keep working overtime in practice, keep shooting, keep getting the right feel.

    He has found it, at least for now. He has made 10 of 15 3-pointers the last four games.

    Those shots are important because they will be there in the playoffs. With Yao in the low post and two 3-point threats (Artest and Battier) on the perimeter, the Rockets can play with anyone.

    But if Battier isn’t shoot-ing well, that’s one more defender who will be sent to push and shove with Yao and more pressure on Artest.

    Keeping defenses honest

    All Adelman asks is that Battier take a shot when it’s there.

    “I’ve told him he has to be aggressive,” Adelman said. “If he catches the ball and no one’s there, shoot it. You can’t always be looking for the next guy. You’ve got to take your shots. When he made a few recently, he got more aggressive in taking shots. We need that.”

    Battier smiles and shrugs.

    “I can keep defenses honest, off of Yao,” he said. “When we have balance, we’re a much better team.”

    For now, he has the feel back. He got it by spending hours in the gym “to get the imagery of the ball going in the hoop and getting that good feeling again.”

    “Sometimes that’s all it is,” he said.

    He makes it sound easier than it probably is, but he’s that way with pretty much everything.
    2 people like this.
  2. DaDakota

    DaDakota If you want to know, just ask!

    Mar 14, 1999
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    We are lucky to have him, smarts is so underated...

  3. jump shooter

    jump shooter Contributing Member

    Mar 14, 2000
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    I ditto that.
  4. Omer

    Omer Member

    Mar 25, 2006
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    There's an article by someone on Battier's intangibles and intelligence every few months....this is probably half the reason he's still in the NBA.

    Haha, JK. I like Battier but I had to get that in.
  5. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member

    Feb 11, 2006
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    With Battier, it's almost like having a coach on the floor. Of course, he's probably closer to JVG than vintage Bill Russell or Lenny Wilkens in terms of ability, but still ... :D
  6. DwangBoy

    DwangBoy Member

    May 6, 2003
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    Personally, I think beauty is just as important as brain..

    but in this case, i'll agree.. brains are good.
  7. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Jul 24, 2007
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    We need Battier to balance out the lack of brains in Artest.

    I'm wondering what the Rockets would've been like if we had such a smart player like Battier on the Rox during the Francis Mobley days. Could he have provided the on court leadership and IQ to make those teams run smoother?
  8. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Jul 24, 2007
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    You don't think Shane Battier is good looking?
  9. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

    Oct 5, 1999
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    He a Poor Man's Robert Horry

    Sans the rings of course

    Rocket RIver
  10. thacabbage

    thacabbage Contributing Member

    Jun 30, 1999
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    Would he camp out in the corner for them too?

    (Yes, I went there. Someone had to do it.)
  11. Super Von

    Super Von Member

    Mar 22, 2009
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    It must be the tan but Shane is hot right now. Hopefully he keeps shooting like this the rest of the way.
  12. tiger0330

    tiger0330 Contributing Member

    Mar 2, 2003
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    Of course he has to be smart because he only has average physical ability. Having average athleticism doesn't mean you can't shoot though and that's what he has to do for us to win in the playoffs. Glad to see him cutting to basket and posting up more lately along with shooting that corner three.
  13. rockbox

    rockbox Around before clutchcity.com

    Jul 28, 2000
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    And the clutch shooting and the fact Horry is the best post entry guy to play in the modern era.
  14. professorjay

    professorjay Contributing Member

    Oct 20, 2006
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    Great article. Thanks for the heads up.

    I have to agree we will need a little more offensive output from him (like he's been doing the past few games) to be competitive in the playoffs. Regardless, I'm very glad he's a Rocket.
  15. Dr of Dunk

    Dr of Dunk Clutch Crew

    Aug 27, 1999
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    I'm trying to keep up... we like Shane this week? :D
  16. Deckard

    Deckard Blade Runner
    Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2002
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    LOL! It's hard to know, isn't it? :D
  17. RV6

    RV6 Contributing Member

    Aug 21, 2008
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    weird how the Battier haters are nowhere to be found....

    and before any one of them shows up and claims he didn't show in the playoffs...check the numbers first...
  18. pmac

    pmac Contributing Member

    Oct 10, 2007
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    board reaction to shane:

    averaging ~6pts = bench him! Play Wafer more minutes!
    averaging ~10 pts = he's the best!!
  19. Tb-Cain

    Tb-Cain Member

    Sep 15, 1999
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    do sportswriters just bust out the obligatory "shane is smart" article each and every year? it gets a bit old.

    i like him. i agree he's smart. next.
  20. MrButtocks

    MrButtocks Contributing Member

    May 29, 2005
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    We're just trying to pump up his trade value to all the GM's that might be reading this board. Kidding! I love the Batt-man!

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