Who’s Your Daddy…

15 02 2009


The reason Duke won the national championship in 2001 was not primarily because of Jason William’s star ability, it wasn’t Mike Dunleavy’s three’s, nor was it Coach K’s leadership. I put my money on Shane Battier’s unnoticeable effect of making five players on the court become more efficient than they could be individually. In the NBA, apparently Battier plays the same game as he always played, “abnormally unselfish basketball,” a description in a New York Times Magazine article: “The No-Stats All-Star.” A great read, the article shows how the current box score and stats system goes counter to the team ability to score (It also makes those who play fantasy basketball think twice about how much they actually know the game of basketball). Maybe the players could use a few lessons on game theory. But of course, the best part of this piece by Michael Lewis is its tribute to Battier’s game and even his character. To highlight, Lewis describes of a game between the Houston Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs:

“Last season when the Rockets played the San Antonio Spurs, Battier was assigned to guard their most dangerous scorer, Manu Ginรณbili. Ginรณbili comes off the bench, however, and his minutes are not in sync with the minutes of a starter like Battier. Battier privately went to Coach Rick Adelman and told him to bench him and bring him in when Ginรณbili entered the game. “No one in the N.B.A. does that,” Morey says. “No one says put me on the bench so I can guard their scorer all the time.”

The mindset of a true All-Star.




One response

15 02 2009

Well, and to be fair, he wasn’t just a ‘make team better’ player at the college level. He was a truly freakish *individual* defensive force. Necause the physical gap was smaller, he was able to do absurd things by himself to most college players; there is a reason he gets almost no blocks in the NBA but was among the top Duke shot blockers ever. Remember the ‘run around and make plays’ game against Carolina after Boozer was injured? I wish I had a recording of that…

Luis (class of Nate James and Missy West)

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