Intensity on the defensive end, clutch three pointers, and playing with a 4-time MVP is the reason why Shane Battier is a two time, back-to-back NBA champion. Shane Battier is the most award winning Blue Devil of Duke basketball history. Leading his high school team to 3 straight state titles, Battier was named “Mr. Basketball of Michigan” in 1997, won national Player of the Year (2001), defensive player of the year in 2000, and rounded out 2001 with a National title.
Some may say that the Blue Devil team that featured Battier is the most loaded Duke team in the last decade of college basketball. The 2001 team featured 2nd overall draft pick and 2002 National Player of the Year Jay Williams, sharp-shooter Mike Dunleavy (Milwaukee Bucks), Carlos Boozer (Chicago Bulls) (who not to mention was injured through much of that magical season with a broken leg), Chris Duhon (Los Angeles Lakers) and current assistant coach Nate James; half of which are still in the league.
What makes Battier superior to the class of 2001? Some may contend that Battier was at the right place at the right time, in regards for him winning two championship rings. Furthermore, what NBA star didn’t needed help winning a ring? Some could further debate that Battier, tagged along with an already loaded team, would improve his chances of being crowned a champion. Players want to be in the best situation possible, and who can nullify Battier for wanting to win a ring? Aren’t players in the league striving to win a ring at any cost?
Nevertheless, it’s no secret that Battier did struggle throughout the conference finals, including being benched in a game 7 versus the Pacers after shooting an awful 2-15. “It’s not how you start the game, it’s how you finish”, said Battier, and with that, he broke the NBA finals record with shooting a precise 6-8 from downtown. That effort from Battier quickly overshadowed how detrimental his shooting performance had been prior. Shane could have easily thrown in the towel, but Dukies aren’t quitters. Shane is a hard worker and committed to improving his game offensively and defensively.
Shane is arguably the second best defensive player on the Miami Heat not named “LeBron James” and can shoot big shots in big moments. Shane Battier holds other teammates accountable for taking plays off. Despite playing with the “Big 3″, Battier has often been called a vocal leader in the locker room. Those intangibles are inherited from Coach K.
Finally, what more could you ask of Battier? He has performed and won at every level. Adding two NBA championships with the hardware he’s collected throughout high school and college isn’t so bad either. Whether you like the Miami Heat or not, you have to respect greatness, with Batter’s historic credentials.