Nick Arison, the CEO of the Miami Heat and former Duke Blue Devil, had a hand in Battier’s decision to join the franchise, but Coach K was pushing very passionately. Why? Let Arison tell it, Battier deserved to be a champion.
In the restored offseason of 2011 Battier was congratulated by Coach K after he announced on his Twitter account that he planned on signing with the championship chasers. It was a decision that proved to be one of the smartest he had ever made as he becomes one of several Miami players getting their fingers fitted for that championship ring.
Battier wasn’t just one of those bench players who filled in when things were looking up for the Heat either. His basketball IQ and defensive edge were far too valuable for Coach Erik Spoelstra to delegate him that type of role.
No, Battier became a very strong part of Miami’s push for the championship, especially in those moments where the Heat needed a boost of momentum. The signing was well received by Heat fans that recognized the veteran leadership that Battier brought to the team, but no one could have predicted how hot he would get when Miami needed it most.
Battier averaged 4.8 PTS on 38.7% field-goal shooting and more importantly 33.9% shooting on the perimeter beyond the arc. He had become expendable because the very skill he was brought along to do was not being exposed.
There was trouble brewing in Miami and the question was blossoming as to whether or not their role players would step out of the shadows and play up to their contract. Battier heard the whispers and kept quiet until the 2012 NBA Finals began.
Out of the five games the Heat played against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Finals’ series, Battier only dropped below the 50% three-point shooting mark once, going one-of-five in Game 4, which Miami subsequently won.
In Games 1 and 2, Battier scored 17 PTS and hit 9-of-13 of his three-point field goals. Battier isn’t a staple in anyone’s scouting report so when he gets those looks, which came more than often in the playoffs, he has to make them count every time.
Battier is a prime example of a player who knew what needed to be done and did everything in his power to make that happen. After that showing he’s cemented his place on Miami’s roster, even if for only one more season.
He has worked his way into the conversation as possibly a starting piece of Miami’s positionless plan for the 2012-13 season. Battier could see some time because of his versatility now that Ray Allen has been added to the roster.
Allen brings that same perimeter dynamic that Battier does, but with a better reputation of efficiency than the defensive specialist. However, what Battier lacks in perimeter proficiency he makes up for with high-octane defense, something that Allen struggles with mightily.
Allen will not really yank any playing time from Battier because of how much assistance he can be on all ends of the court at any given moment. Battier can be destructive with the ball in his hands and away from it, so do not expect Allen’s entrance to cause any ripples on the forward’s influence.
Can Battier be the same man he was from the 2012 NBA Finals? Only time will tell.
There’s no crystal ball given to the men and women that step back and analyze the game and its players. There is no way of telling 100% whether or not he can repeat those types of games.
What can be predicted is that Battier, even at the age 34, is playing to his strengths more intelligently than when he first walked on the court in a Miami Heat jersey. Nick Arison and Coach K were absolutely right in their statements that Shane Battier deserved to be a champion.
Even as a championship team’s role player, he’s still earned himself a ring.