As we countdown the hours to Shanefest 2011 against the Sacramento Kings, I remembered reading this rather lengthy feature on Shane Battier in the New York Times Magazine. It further underscores why we love the guy, and why we should expect this team to get significantly better in the closing weeks of the season. Shane’s impact on the game likely won’t show up on the stat sheet, but it will show up in the win column. If you’ve got the time, check out “The No Stats All Star.” An excerpt that summarizes The Shane Effect . . . and makes you wish he’d been on the roster during ALL those close games this season:
Battiers game is a weird combination of obvious weaknesses and nearly invisible strengths. When he is on the court, his teammates get better, often a lot better, and his opponents get worse often a lot worse. He may not grab huge numbers of rebounds, but he has an uncanny ability to improve his teammates rebounding. He doesnt shoot much, but when he does, he takes only the most efficient shots. He also has a knack for getting the ball to teammates who are in a position to do the same, and he commits few turnovers. On defense, although he routinely guards the N.B.A.s most prolific scorers, he significantly reduces their shooting percentages. At the same time he somehow improves the defensive efficiency of his teammates probably, Morey surmises, by helping them out in all sorts of subtle ways. I call him Lego, Morey says. When hes on the court, all the pieces start to fit together. And everything that leads to winning that you can get to through intellect instead of innate ability, Shane excels in. Ill bet hes in the hundredth percentile of every category.