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Miami Heat Front Office Hires Shane Battier: Defensive Master Joins Team Analystics

Shane Battier has rejoined the Miami Heat. No, the two-time NBA champion isn’t coming out of retirement at 38. He’s joining the front office, instead. Battier will be taking on the new position of Director of Basketball Development and Analytics.

“I am thrilled to be joining the front office of the Miami Heat,” he said. Battier added, “I look forward to working with the Arison family, learning from a Hall of Fame executive Pat Riley, general manager Andy Elisburg and of course, my old coach, Erik Spoelstra.”

Close Ties To South Beach

Shane Battier played an extensive NBA career – 13 seasons with the Memphies Grizzlies, Houston Rockets, and Miami Heat. It was with the Heat that he played his last three seasons. He was a part of the team that won back-to-back championships with LeBron James, 2012-13. Since then, he has maintained ties with the organization, and his family has continued to live in South Florida, Tim Reynolds of the AP shares.

Being close with Heat managing general partner Micky Arison and CEO Nick Arison can’t hurt, either. Back when Battier played for the Duke Blue Devils, Nick Arison was the team’s manager. As with his time in Memphis and Houston, he’s also been a popular personality. On one hand, he’s gained a reputation for being a good locker room presence. And on the other: a player who get the job done on the court without needing a ton of media attention.

“Shane is an out-of-the-box thinker,” Heat President Pat Riley said, “and will bring a fresh expertise that can help us evolve as a franchise.”

How Can Shane Battier Help?

But how does Shane Battier actually benefit the Miami Heat? His job is to “develop analystics to evaluate talent – including college players, free agents, and members of the roster”. That sounds like an awful lot of numbers-crunching. Perhaps, he’ll be great in that role off the bat; perhaps, he’ll need some time to grow into it.

But one thing we can be sure of: Shane Battier has always had great instincts. He was known as a defensive stalwart – making the All-Defensive Team twice. Sure, his career stats are not particularly eye-popping – 8.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. But author Michael Lewis once called Battier the “No-Stats All-Star”, in reference to the impact he continues to have on the game.

“Battier’s game is a weird combination of obvious weaknesses and nearly invisible strengths,” Lewis wrote for the New York Times, “When he is on the court, his teammates get better, often a lot better, and his opponents get worse – a lot worse.”

Perhaps, this uncanny ability to see, and affect, hidden aspects of the  game is what Battier needs to grow into his role with the Heat successfully. He’ll be handling a lot of things everyone sees, certainly – stat sheets, game tapes and clips, and the like.

But he’ll also be looking for the things that not everyone can see. If anything, at least his goal is clear: “My goal, as is the entire organization’s, is to bring another championship back to Miami.”

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