16-year NBA veteran Al Harrington doled out praise for former Houston Rockets forward and fan favorite Shane Battier.
Carroll Dawson had a stellar tenure with the Houston Rockets, as he served a total of 27 years with the organization, operating as a coach and an executive. Dawson was part of both Rockets championships, and was largely responsible for Rudy Tomjanovich deciding to take the Rockets’ head coaching job.
Dawson’s last offseason in the Space City was in 2006, and he made several key decisions that set the Rockets up for the future. One of those decisions involved the Rockets’ eighth pick of the 2006 NBA Draft, which was used on Rudy Gay, who was viewed as a can’t-miss-prospect.
Dawson traded Gay and Stromile Swift to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Shane Battier, which was a deal that drew mixed emotions at the time. But Battier was also a stud in his own rights, as he was the epitome of a 3-and-D player, although players weren’t exactly given that label during his playing days, which partly shows how he was ahead of his time.
16-year veteran Al Harrington recently joined the Knuckleheads podcast to express his appreciation for the former Houston Rockets forward’s game.
Harrington praises former Houston Rockets forward Shane Battier
“Shane Battier was kinda nice. He was one of those guys that did everything. So he fit that mold where you’d just watch.”
The former Duke product averaged 10.1 points in his first season with the Rockets, while also playing in all 82 games, which led the league. Battier also made 42.1 percent from long-range, which was second-best on the team during the 2006-07 season.
Battier continued his stellar 3-point shooting in his second season in the Space City, as he made 37.7 percent of his treys during the 2007-08 season, which led all Rockets starters. Battier also made the All-Defensive team, which was his first time receiving such honors. This recognition was much deserved considering how Battier manned the challenge of defending the opposing team’s best offensive weapon nightly, which made him a fan favorite in Houston.
The Rockets made the playoffs in 2007-08 for the second consecutive season, as they won 55 games, which marked the most victories the franchise had since the 1996-97 season.
Although Battier’s first two seasons in Houston resulted in first-round playoff exits, the Rockets had missed the postseason in five of the previous seven years leading up to Battier’s arrival, so the turnaround was noticeable.
The 2008-09 season was the most successful season of Battier’s Houston Rockets career, as the team made it to the Western Conference Semi-Finals, despite being without Tracy McGrady for 47 games. Battier made 38.4 percent of his triples during the regular season and made the All-Defensive team yet again.
The Rockets were eliminated by the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers in the second-round, but they were the only team to take the Lakers to seven games during that postseason. Battier’s final season in Houston was a disappointment, as the Rockets went 42-40 and missed the playoffs.
Battier was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies midway through the 2010-11 season, as the Rockets were rebuilding. Although Battier only played five seasons in Houston, the 3-and-D machine has remains in the Rockets’ record-books in the below categories:
- 5th in Defensive box plus/minus
- 6th in made 3-pointers
- 8th in effective field goal percentage
- 10th in blocks
Battier finished his career with the Miami Heat, where he was a part of three consecutive NBA Finals trips. Fortunately for Battier, the Heat won two championships from 2011-2013, meaning the unheralded glue guy finished his career as a two-time NBA champion.