Houston Rockets target #1: Shane Battier
Shane Battier was the quintessential 3-and-D player during his time with the Houston Rockets, as he became an elite defender in the Space City, which shouldn’t be surprising, as his 6-foot-8 frame allowed him to defend multiple positions on the floor. Battier was named to two consecutive All-Defensive teams and averaged 38.8 percent from deep throughout his Rockets career.
Battier joined the Miami Heat at the end of his career and won two titles in South Beach, as an end of the rotation player. Battier has already begun his post-playing career in Miami’s front office, as he was hired in 2017 to be the Director of Basketball Development and Analytics and has transitioned to the Vice President of Basketball Development and Analytics for Miami.
In this role, Battier’s chief responsibilities center around the development of analytics and evaluation of talent, which ranges from college to free agents. Battier’s analytical background would be of use to Rafael Stone and the rest of the front office, as they were once at the forefront of the analytical movement, due in large part to Morey’s presence.
Speaking of Morey, Battier cited him and Sam Hinkie as the driving force behind his knowledge in that department.
“I was lucky to play for Daryl Morey and Sam Hinkie, who taught me how to look at the data. Analytics is like blackjack. When the dealer has a five showing, what do you do?
You double down. Why? Because the book tells you that is the best play at the time and gives you the most chance to win the hand and win money.
Analytics has a lot of the same aspects as [blackjack]. When you make Kobe Bryant go to his left hand, he’ll score 44 percent of the time.
When he goes to his right hand, he’s gonna score 56 percent of the day. So you don’t need to be a math genius to understand that the defender should take Kobe to his left hand.”
Battier has been linked to the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons’ GM vacancies in the past, but removed himself from consideration for the latter. With Battier’s niche in the analytics department, not to mention him having cited Morey and Hinkie as two early influences, the Rockets should make it a priority to give him a call.