The Legend of Shane Battier

Posted: December 8, 2011 by Mauricio Rubio Jr. in Basketball, NBA
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I was first made aware of Shane Battier as he donned Duke blue and played a very bland brand of basketball that didn’t immediately draw me in. I grew up in the era of rarefied air, of vicious dunks and cut throat defense. I was watching basketball’s Golden Age and was slowly coming to terms with the new brand of slower basketball.

Battier’s game, however, while aesthetically unimpressive is undeniably layered. Taken at face value Battier looks like another dookie NBA player. It looks like a game built on reputation rather than substance, but to mistake it for that is to take what Battier does for granted.

The transformation from underground hoopster hero to a well respected defensive maven owes much to 2009 New York Times Article that outlined what he does well and presented it to the masses. Indeed, a burgeoning movement was already underway decrying the Allen Iverson type players, chuckers with little regard for efficiency. Battier’s rise to NBA fan respect is directly correlative with this new line of thinking.

And now Battier has traveled to the much bally-hoed Miami Heat, self titled bad boys of the NBA. The villains have their first glue guy, a hard nosed defender that knows what his role on a team is. The rest of the NBA is taking notice once again as the Heat make an offseason signing that is drastically altering the NBA landscape.

The road to the NBA finals goes through Miami in the East. The super trio of LeBron, Wade and Bosh will not wilt away simply because of the failures of last year. Now the best perimiter defense in the game adds another potent weapon.

The Bulls will have a specifically tough time dealing with the Heat given the current roster. Rose’s squad has no reliable second option that can create his own shot to deal with the multiple match up nightmare of James, Wade and Battier on the defensive end. It’s now up to GarPaxDorf to respond to the move and hopefully bring in someone who can ease the burden that weighs heavy on the reigning MVP.

As the season wears on and the character of teams are tested, remember that the regular season only means so much. Champions are proven in the playoffs, frauds and deficiencies are completely exposed and that the struggle for basketball immortality is a bloody path that is paved with the failures of seasons past.

I can’t wait.

 

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