Tag: Shane Battier

Shane Battier

Battier says it will take time for Sports VU camera info to trickle down to players


We’ve talked about this a few times recently — new high-tech Sports VU cameras are going into all 29 NBA arenas this year. These cameras track every movement on the court by every player and send them to a computer for processing that opens up a world of potential data. You can measure and compare just about anything. Who is faster in the open court with the ball, John Wall or Russell Westbrook? How well does Stephen Curry shoot with a defender three feet away from him? Two feet? Off two bounces rather than catch and shoot?

It’s a wealth of information and the biggest question is how teams will digest it and turn it into game plan actions they can use.

Shane Battier, a guy known for using advanced stats more than most (remember the Michael Lewis piece when Battier was in Houston about how he covered Kobe Bryant?) told Cooper Moorhead of Heat.com it will take a while for this information to trickle down to the players.

“It’ll be fascinating. I still think it’ll be a while before you understand what makes Tony Parker different from John Wall in the open court. You’ll have the data, or closeout speed or thing that you measure . . . it’s really infinite, the things that you can measure. It will take a while to trickle down to how players learn the game. Guys have a pretty good understanding of what’s a good shot and what’s a bad shot now, but no one is teaching that in youth basketball. They’re still teaching the same old. It’s going to be a while until that trickles down to the grass roots level and a coach understands this is what you need to do to make it to the next level.”

Do you think at this point it’ll be important for players to educate themselves on the new stuff? To understand how the league perceives them.

“It’s an edge and players always look for an edge. Be it they work a little harder in the weight room to get a little stronger, whether they take 100 extra jumpers a day to get an edge on their jump shot… It’s just another edge, another way to get ahead of the competition. But obviously you can make more money the more edges you have.

“It’ll take time for someone to take the data and make it digestible for players to understand, ‘OK, this is what I really need to work on.’ The game is not changing. It doesn’t change the way it’s understood, described and analyzed. The game is still going to be the same, it’s just going to be a different nuance.”

How teams use this data is going to be key and the 14 teams that already had it in their building had a leg up. For example, the Toronto Raptors already have a program in place that tracks where they want their defenders to be (as ghosts on the image) vs. where they were during a specific sequence.

The question then is how to use it as a teaching tool?

Most players (like most people) are visual learners — don’t tell me to force Kobe left into pull up jumpers, show them video of guys that did it and were successful that way. Those images have a bigger impact.

It’s going to be fun to watch this unfold over the next five years, and beyond.

By the way, go read the entire article where Battier talks about his golf game and shooting slump in the Finals.

ProBasketballTalk 2013-14 Preview: Miami Heat

San Antonio Spurs v Miami Heat - Game 7

Last season: The Heat won their second straight championship in an epic seven-game battle against a Spurs team that had every chance to take home the title instead. On their way, Miami flirted with history by stringing together a 27-game winning streak that lasted late into March, and finished the season by winning an incredible 53 of its last 61 games. LeBron James took home both the regular season and Finals MVP awards.

Signature highlight from last season: Miami was on the verge of losing Game 6 of the Finals, and a championship right along with it. After trailing by five points with 28 seconds remaining, the Heat had cut it to three and had possession of the ball. LeBron missed a three that would have tied it, but Chris Bosh fought for the rebound and kicked it to Ray Allen, who stepped back behind the three-point line and delivered the season-saving dagger that will go down as one of the biggest shots in NBA history.

Key player changes: Miami didn’t do anything too drastic in terms of shaking up its roster, which is to be expected from a team looking to win its third straight title. But they did say goodbye to a key veteran piece, and rolled the dice on two players that have been busts everywhere else.

  • IN: Greg Oden is the only player who’s been added on a guaranteed deal for the upcoming season. Michael Beasley is in camp on a non-guaranteed deal, as is Roger Mason Jr. Miami has 13 players on guaranteed deals; it’s unlikely they’d guarantee two more to max out their roster before seeing who might be available later in the season.
  • OUT: Mike Miller was waived using the amnesty provision, saving the team a total of $17 million in what was purely a cost-cutting measure.

Keys to the Heat’s season:

1) The health of Dwyane Wade: The Heat were able to win the title even with Wade playing at far less than 100 percent. He had offseason shock treatment to try to rejuvenate his ailing knee, which is something he’s done in the past that provided successful results.

Managing Wade’s health throughout the season so that he’s as ready as possible for the playoffs may be the single most important factor in whether or not Miami can make its fourth straight trip to the Finals — a feat which hasn’t been accomplished since the Boston Celtics did it during the 1984-87 seasons.

2) Pace yourself: For Miami to be playing deep into June once again, the team will need to carefully manage the minutes of not only its star players, but its aging crop of reserves, as well. Guys like Udonis Haslem, Shane Battier, and Ray Allen are becoming ancient by league standards, and while Allen and Battier seem to come through with big shots when it matters most, the reality is that they both have declining overall skill sets.

The good news is that the Heat seemed to do this to perfection last year — not so much in terms of limiting guys’ minutes, but the team coasted a bit through the first part of the season. On February 1, Miami had a rather pedestrian record of 29-14. Five teams in the West had better records at the time, and two others had notched the name number of victories to that point in the season’s schedule. It was only then that Miami flipped the switch and reeled off that huge winning streak which propelled them into the postseason.

If they can similarly conserve effort during the first few months while winning enough to stay with the pack, the Heat will be poised to make yet another late-season run.

3) Will standing pat be enough against a reloaded Eastern Conference?: This is perhaps the ultimate question.

A cursory glance around the East shows that at least three teams — Brooklyn, Indiana, and Chicago — should all be vastly improved this season. The Nets added Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the Pacers shored up their bench unit by bringing in guys like Luis Scola, Chris Copeland and C.J. Watson, plus they’ll see a healthy Danny Granger return to the lineup to boost the team’s offense. Derrick Rose is back for the Bulls, and by all accounts will be at full strength for the start of the season.

Those teams all got markedly better on paper, and we haven’t even mentioned the Knicks yet, who added Metta World Peace, Andrea Bargnani, and Beno Udrih to a team that finished last year with the second best record in the East.

Miami didn’t make any splashy additions in free agency, and preferred instead to return with the majority of last season’s roster intact. They may need either the Beasley or the Oden gamble to pay off to bolster the second unit, and both of those players are long shots at best given their respective career histories.

Why you should watch the Heat: LeBron James is the best basketball player in the world, and he’s in the prime of his career.

Prediction: 58-24, and a top-three seed in the East. Miami will be strong again this season, and while a third straight title given the way the top teams have improved certainly isn’t impossible, it does seem like a stretch. It may be foolish to count out LeBron at this stage of his career, but I see the Heat getting no further than the Eastern Conference Finals.

Gigi Datome wants to be the Pistons’ version of Shane Battier

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The Pistons signed Italy’s Luigi “Gigi” Datome to a two-year deal this summer, and his ability to space the floor with his shooting was likely the main reason why.

Datome is 25 years old, but this will be his rookie NBA season. Since the majority of fans in the states have yet to see him play, it’s worth wondering what type of role the 6’7″ wing envisions himself filling in Detroit next season.

From Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype:

How would you describe yourself to people that don’t know you? Would you compare yourself to any current NBA player?

GD: It’s tough to make comparisons because all NBA players are very good players and I’m a rookie, so nobody knows me. I would like to make myself known over there. I’m an athletic player and a shooter, for sure. That’s why they signed me – to open up the court. I’m a player with great passion for the game. I would like be for the Pistons what Shane Battier is for Miami. Not the star, for sure, but a player that’s a shooter and contributes to the team’s good results. Maybe you’re not a star, but you’re helping the team. That’s who I want to be.

Battier, of course, has most recently been a key role player for the Miami Heat during their runs to championships over the past two seasons. He was once known for his above average defense, but that isn’t so much the case anymore. Battier now is simply a high-IQ player who won’t hurt you defensively for stretches, and on the other end, has consistently proven capable of knocking down his open looks from three-point distance once the defense collapses on Miami’s more capable scorers.

Datome will be expected to do more than spot up in the corner and await kick-out passes. But there are certainly worse players to emulate than Battier given his skill set.

Everybody keeps asking Ray Allen about “The Shot.” He’s cool with that.

San Antonio Spurs v Miami Heat - Game 6

If you were Ray Allen, wouldn’t you want to talk about the biggest shot of your career?

Allen hit a step-back three with 5.2 seconds left that tied Game 6 of the NBA Finals and saved the Miami Heat’s title chances. Miami had looked dead in the water seconds before but Chris Bosh got the offensive rebound off a LeBron James miss, passed it out to Allen and he drained a corner three that was pretty much a layup for him all season. You know the rest, Miami won Game 6 in overtime then Game 7 to get another ring.

Allen told Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press that was the only thing people wanted to talk to him about this summer.

“It doesn’t matter where I went, where I’ve gone, what city or state I was in, it’s all people could talk about,” Allen said. “I always have to let people know that in that situation, being a part of a team, I was part of the reason. Everybody kept telling me I was the reason. We had 15 parts of the reason. You look back on the season and somebody always did something to help our team win a game. That’s what being a great teammate is all about.”

Allen, ever the good teammate.

Allen went on to say he didn’t mind talking about it so much because the alternative — the conversation he has to have if he misses — would have been much harder.

But it wasn’t just him, Shane Battier said The Shot (not his six three pointers in Game 7) was all he as asked about.

“It was pretty awesome,” Battier said. “Hey, it’s all I wanted to talk about, too.”

It was the iconic play of last season, and will be one of the iconic Heat moments of this era for the team (however long this “big three” era lasts). We want drama in our sports and that was about as dramatic a moment as basketball can give you.

Ray Allen is going to be talking about that shot for a long time.

Shane Battier understands this could be his last NBA season

Miami Heat's Shane Battier screams after scoring against the Memphis Grizzlies in the second half of their NBA basketball game in Miami, Florida

Shane Battier is 35 years old. And in the last year of his contract. And went through a terrible shooting slump (5-of-31) through the playoffs and NBA Finals last season that saw his role shrink (although he exploded for six threes in the Heat’s Game 7 win).

Combined, those are all signs that retirement is around the corner. This could well be his last NBA season.

As you would expect, Battier is taking a measured approach to it, something he told Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. He might still play in 2014, in Miami or elsewhere if a contract is offered, but if not he is ready to move on.

“I’m realistic to where I am at this point in my life,” he said… “I’d like to finish my contract strong with the Miami Heat, and then we’ll see where we go….

“This door is always open,” he said. “This is not a farewell tour, no. But if it is, it is. And I’ll enjoy this year and try to make the most of it.”

It is possible that next summer, as a free agent, Miami or some other contending team looking for a veteran “3 and D” guy could offer Battier a one year minimum contract. It’s going to depend on how he performs this season.

Battier is self aware enough to know one way or another his time in the league is winding down. And he’s going to try and savor it.