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Free agent profile: Shane Battier


This is the second in a series of profiles analyzing a free agent and how he might fit in with the Lakers.

Shane Battier, Memphis Grizzlies forward

Type of free agent: Unrestricted


They don't call him the "No Stats All-Star" for nothing. He consistently guards the opposing team's best player and holds them under their season averages in points and shooting percentage. He provides a positive locker-room presence and thrives on mastering such intangibles as tipping loose balls to teammates, boxing out an opponent to free up a teammate to clean glass and showing remarkable efficiency in his shot selection. 

Battier has plenty of veteran experience and would earn immediate respect from many Lakers, including Kobe Bryant (who knows how suffocating Battier can be on defense), Ron Artest (who used to be his teammate at Houston) and Pau Gasol (who used to be his teammate in Memphis). There's no need to wonder how Battier would fit in the pecking order because he'd be the guy making everyone else's job easier. With Coach Mike Brown wanting to implement a defense-first mentality, Battier would be a perfect addition in fulfilling that philosophy.


Battier's age (32), lack of athleticism and offensive moves don't exactly bode well for a team that wants an injection of youth and quickness. One sign this might be an issue points to his initial struggles with the Memphis Grizzlies this past season after the Houston Rockets traded him. Battier received less playing time and didn't have the same offensive comfort as he did with the Rockets. He wouldn't be expected to be part of the Lakers' offensive scheme -- which would be reserved primarily for Bryant, Gasol and Andrew Bynum. But it still could make him a less effective option. Battier has routinely made up for this deficiency with his high basketball IQ, so it's not as if this signing would be a disaster. The Lakers may just have better options in bolstering their roster.


The Memphis Commercial Appeal's Ronald Tillery reported after the Grizzlies' Game 7 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference semifinals that Battier expressed uncertainty about his future because of the strong possibility of an NBA lockout.

Battier has sentimental ties to Memphis considering he was drafted by them sixth overall in 2001, played for the Grizzlies in two separate stints (2001-06, 2011) and runs his basketball camp there. Still, it'd be wise for the Lakers to go after him. Consider how Battier's quote about his playing future perfectly ties into the Lakers hopes to make "tweaks" to their roster without spending too much money. 

"I don't have to start and play 40 minutes," Battier told Tillery. "I just want to have a role and be one of the guys a coach can lean on."

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at

Photo: Thunder forward Kevin Durant drives past Grizzlies forward Shane Battier during the first half of Game 7 of the Thunder-Grizzlies Western Conference semifinals series. Credit: Larry W. Smith / EPA / May 15, 2011

Comments () | Archives (31)

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Not sure how I would feel about Battier. The reason is because I just feel like lately the Lakers are getting the second hand stuff that used to OWN the league but is now just a faded pair of jeans having circulated through the wash a few too many times.

The FO's recent track record indicates that they'll gladly swap young for old and upside for downside. Sure it makes no sense to me, but that's perhaps the smallest reason why I'm not working for the FO right now helping them make personnel decisions.

"Most of the stuff I'm getting, and what I'm guessing others are, is coming in unprompted"


Jon K was giving first hand hearsay and gossip. I think the more that becomes known about the King, the more and more of these Jon K stories seem plausible and much more likely.

There was a time "cough kbros cough cough" when we couldn't really discuss some of this stuff. Some of my posts were deleted, some of Jon's were deleted... you know, the whole "times doesn't want to spread rumors" stuff....

Looks like now even high profile SI writers are hearing and jabbering about it.

Jon K vindicated.

Deja vu.

Elgin and Jerry.

LBJ and DWade.

Battier is a smart player. I would prefer him getting over Matt Barnes. But having said that...I want to see Ebanks get some minutes. The Lakers need his speed and athleticism. How sweet would it be to have Ebanks schooled on the finer points of defense from Kobe, Ron and Battier!

@GDub – Kudos on your perfect pick with the Mavs. Good point about Carlisle. He did a masterful job. Starting Berea was brilliant. But he also deserves props for basically sitting Peja down after the game 1 loss. He only played him 5 minutes each in games 2-3 and then shut him down for good.
I meant to comment on Ornette Coleman earlier…that was cool, but Loved the “other” Coleman…pure greatness!

@Hrmhed – Good post at 6:13pm and well worth the length :-) When I read the comments DeShawn Stevenson allegedly posted on his Facebook account saying he told us “Lebron was overrated. I couldn't believe it. I even posted it on here early Saturday. I talked to some diehard NBA fans later that day about how players feared Kobe/MJ too much to ever just straight out trash them in the middle of a series. Terry said – Lebron can’t hold me for 7 games. DSteve said – Miami is Hollywood, Lebron checked out…etc. Bill Russell even waited until he retired before he said anything negative about Wilt. (Then he really let loose.)

FYI…After the story broke about DeShawn Stevenson Saturday morning he squashed it later that day saying he didn’t post it and doesn’t have a Facebook account.

Can you imagine if the Heat trade LeBron for DHoward?


I want my 15 seconds of fame. I picked Dallas in 6 and said it many times. In fact, LRob can attest to this; I picked the Mavs from the begging of the playoffs before round 1. I broke down all the playoff teams and said I thought the Mavs were a complete team from top to bottom, the deepest team with all the right parts along with great shooting. I asked what’s not to like about this Mavs team.

Of course I had to pick the Lakers over the Mavs using my heart but my brain told me otherwise. Once they moved past the Lakers I never thought for a second that they would not be the NBA champions. The one thing that I did leave out and couldn’t imagine was the genius of the Mavs coaching staff; they were as impressive as anything or any player in the whole series.


Posted by: Sean | June 13, 2011 at 03:19 PM
Dallas, Dallas, Dallas. I think this is a great and complete team that can compete with any team in the NBA except for the Lakers. Sucks for them.

Posted by: NBA4ever | April 27, 2011 at 02:00 PM

There you go…..proof positive that you believed in the Mavs from the onset of the playoffs.

However, I must also add that Bay to LA and myself were the only ones here, that posted complete predictions, that picked the Heat to make the finals (not including the Heat lovers of course.) Most had them losing to Boston. I know you and LT were pretty adamant that Boston would take them out.

For the record I finished up with 3 of the final 4 teams...ahem...that one team really let me down :-(


Can you and your boy Lechoke please pass the popcorn? I guess the coronation of the new king is not going to happen after all. I guess eight is better than 3 after all. Just can throw guys with them same type of game together and expect them to win it they're first time out.

Island Priest

You should be considering a trader. All yr you've been finding ways to poke fun at Kobe's game and bigging up Lebron's game at the expense of downing Kobe's game. Now you should realize that what Kobe has accomplish over his career isn’t easy to accomplish with out some kind of skill. Score board baby Kobe 5 rings Lebron 0.

Posted by: Oclezy | June 13, 2011 at 02:20 PM
Oclezy – pass the popcorn…lol. I’ll even splurge for extra butter and salt.

@MagicJohnson: OK Jim Buss, it's time to go to work & make the roster better.

The above tweet tells us all we need to know. Magic still has a FO title with the Lakers and should know who is actually pulling the strings. I guess MK is just a puppet GM. G_D help us with JimB with prime vote!

Off season thoughts:

1. Can you imagine if the Heat trade LeBron for DHoward? At least 2 rings.
2. LeBron for Bynum or Pau and change? LA would have the 2 most polarizing players in the planet. Kobe would have found his Pippen.
3. Defense may be key ingredient to a championship but a lack of offense will kill your chances everytime.
4. Mark Cuban is long overdue for a ring (crown?). What can you say about a fan who can (and does) buy a team to root for? Maybe we can trade owners, Cuban for Jim Buss?
5. I love DFish. I love JWest. I love Wilt. Should retire, is retired, really retired.
6. Luuuuuuke, join the head office, please!
7. Bring back Kwame. LA needs a clown to laugh at.
8. A coach who calls timeout then sits while his assistant calls the play is strange. AND they say PJackson is unconventional.
9. BShaw was not going to happen the minute Doc Buss said he hated the triangle. PJackson had the credentials, Shaw had nothing to back him up.
10. LBJ is a great player. Being a human being is a totally different story.

@LRob: Glad you enjoyed both of the 'Coleman(s)'. :-)

Also, you made a good point about Carlisle sitting Peja after the first game. I don't know what it is about Peja, but the guy just doesn't seem to step up in the POs(except against us this year)...remember that infamous airball he shot against the Ls in the POs when he was still playin' for the Queens.:-)

BTW, here's a lil tribute to another great trumpeter, who I believe woulda been 106 today...may he R.I.P.


Let's go Ls...and make a comeback next season!!!!!

this was written:

Um ... didn't the team ... that played the best team basketball ... during the playoffs ... just win ... the trophy?

Posted by: jimjoyce25 | June 13, 2011 at 06:41 PM

my response: Do you really want to dance? My statement about "team"
basketball was addressed to foolish people who declared that Kobe should
pass the ball to his teammates regardless of the evidence that says "they
can't buy a shot".

These same people are weeping tears of rage and frustration because the
poster child for "team" basketball is now 0-2 in the finals.

I have clearly said that when Kobe plays distributor before the defense
keys on him, it's bad for the rest of the Lakers because none of them can
create their own offense. I've also said that their lack of hustle was
problematic, in that it wasted time and didn't allow mismatches to be used.

I repeat, "do you really want to dance" ?

Oclezy – pass the popcorn…lol. I’ll even splurge for extra butter and salt.

Posted by: L Rob | June 13, 2011 at 07:13 PM

Lol,your on man.

Go Lakers!

It boggles my mind just how many articles there are ripping LeBron James. Not that I feel sorry for him. He is deserving of every criticism thrown his way. I can’t remember where I read it but one writer struck a chord that resonated with me when he compared the NBA Finals to a morality play. How amazing that a player once loved and idolized has managed to transform himself from a hero to the ultimate villain in less than a year. The big question is where does LeBron go from here?

What astonishes me is that even LeBron’s apologists are now admitting that he has holes in his game and lacks the killer instinct of a true closer like Kobe or Dirk. There is no doubt that LeBron is the most physically gifted athlete in the NBA. We have never seen a player of his size and strength show such dazzling speed and athleticism. On the open court, he is truly unstoppable. But against a strong team defense designed to turn him into a jump shooter, LeBron’s game starts to show its holes.

First, like most players with freakish athleticism, LeBron is not really a true shooter. It’s to his credit that he in eight years in the pros, he has become a good 3-point shooter and I think with more work he can become a good mid-range shooter. All the talk about him suddenly learning to be a post up player is pure hogwash in my opinion. As gifted as LeBron, learning how to play with your back to the basket at 26 is not as simple as the analysts make it out to be. I doubt LeBron will master it.

Look around the league and won’t find many players with great back-to-the-basket moves. Like old school centers, posting up has become a lost art. Most teams are lucky if they have one good post up player and blessed if they have two. One of the long-time Lakers’ strengths has been that they have five players who have excellent post up games, including Kobe, Drew, Pau, Ron, and Lamar. That’s why Mike Brown is excited about our potential to play inside-out basketball. All we need is some guys to provide the outside element to keep defenses honest and the opposition spaced out.

One thing that really caught me by surprise these playoffs was J.J. Berea. He is truly becoming a poor man’s Steve Nash with his ability to get anywhere in the paint with the dribble. And those 1-handed scoop shots and short step back jumpers are pure Nash. I don’t think his long range shooting is for real but you have to give J.J. credit because the guy torched the Miami defense just like he did to the Lakers’ defense. As a former short point guard myself, I have to say that J.J. showed he can be an exciting point guard and that he and Jason Kidd can be a dynamic back court point guard duo.

@LT: Here's a clip I'm sure you'll enjoy.:-)

Let's go Ls...and make a comeback next season!!!!!

Ohio Governor John Kasich issued a resolution Monday heaping praise on the NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks, and in a not-too-subtle jab at Miami Heat star LeBron James, proclaimed the Texas-based team as honorary Ohioans.

It sounds ... like you don't know ... what team ... basketball ... is ... and wouldn't recognize it ... if you ... saw ... it

@GDUB …. Thanks for the JJ link. I especially loved that last move on the video where JJ spun right to the hoop. I am just amazed at how much his game resembles Nash other than his long range shot. JJ no doubt earned himself a huge raise since he will be unrestricted. If the Mavs keep him as a starter, you have to think he would stay. They will probably get him for MLE type money.

@JIMJOYCE … You’ll have to forgive our hobbit. He’s so excited about LeBron passing rather than shooting that he has somehow managed to talk himself into believing that anybody praising team basketball is somehow criticizing Kobe’s number of shot attempts, which of course in not what you meant but a part of diligence as far as hobbits go is sometimes checking to make sure 1 + 1 ≠ 3. :-)

@GDUB - Thanks for the Doc Cheatham. I know he played with Cab. I'm trying to figure out if he's on this video (one of my favorite old/old school tunes). Check out the second on left at 1:18/2:53.

@LT - Barea is exciting and fun to watch. I agree that his long range shooting is the weakness in his game. I didn't understand why the Lakers didn't just go under the screens and give up the outside shot instead of letting him wreck havoc in the lane....scoring for himself and freeing shooters when the defense collapsed.

Barea was great against the Lakers and OKC, but all in all he only shot 42% from the field in the playoffs and 32% from 3pt. He's a nice change a pace guard and Carlisle played to his strengths, but I wouldn't count on his game translating in other systems. I think it would be a mistake to give him a huge chunk of the MLE. On the other hand if Dallas is going to ride with him as maybe the Lakers can snag Roddy Beaubois from them.


He’s so excited about LeBron passing rather than shooting that he has somehow managed to talk himself into believing that anybody praising team basketball is somehow criticizing Kobe’s number of shot attempts

But Luh-bron didn't just resort to making his team mates better by opting to pass to them every chance he could, he passed on an opportunity at getting a championship on several occasions when the Heat clearly had control of the game, when he didn't have that killer instinct (buzz word for taking shot attempts, brute forcing or playmaking to benefit a team not stats) to close out, now he's staring at not a triple double, an 0-for-2. The stats that matter the most are during the 4th quarter, that's where Dirk lived this year, and why Lebron while a gifted athlete, great defender is just an overrated '1- inch smaller Lamar Odom. The caper on his legacy is obviously his ignorance of reality, that he looks upon himself too highly, and his countless fans, who follow him are enabling him to fail. Case in point, falling on his own sword.. as his legions of fans. If Lebron lacks anything it's taking a second to think before he speaks. What about when he was asked by a Miami interviewer if he would win championships, he didn't step back and say, he would try, instead he said it wouldn't be one but 8 as if teams would bow down to them and just lose to them because the ringless King-as Skip Bayless tagged him with, wanted them to. So as I step back and follow the NBA and the Mavericks success this year, by how they didn't whine and just played the game as they were supposed to. They didn't need excuses on the flip side they called out opponents and pushed the right buttons as a team, not with triple doubles, or accolades in the 3rd quarter of a game.

>>>@MagicJohnson: OK Jim Buss, it's time to go to work & make the roster better.

Wow. Did Magic really tweet that? Hope JB takes it to heart.

I doubt I'd really be a good GM. Sure I can work the trade machine like there's no tomorrow, and I could come up with viable trade ideas. But I honestly have no idea whether it would be better to keep all the core players and see what you could bring in with only Barnes, Blake, Ebanks, Caracter, cash, a trade exception, and 2nd round picks as trade bait, or whether it's better to do what Magic is suggesting and trade off one of the core players to better balance the roster.

On the one hand, you could probably keep Kobe/Pau/Drew/Lamar/Artest and get some average PG (but an upgrade) like Boobie Gibson or Jonny Flynn.

Or you could try to lure a free agent PG away from their current team by overpaying them (full MLE to JJ Barea anyone? I doubt Dallas would be willing to pay him that much).

Or you could do what Magic seems to be suggesting - trade one of Bynum, Gasol, or Odom to shore up the starting PG position. Being strong in the front court is a really good thing... but it does you no good if opposing PGs are driving past your aging point guards like they're standing still.

And part of the problem is, you can lose either way, and if you lose, you'll get blamed for what you didn't do.

If the Lakers win a title in 2012, then Mitch is a genius again, no problem.

But if he trades away Pau and they lose, then the problem was that they traded off Pau and made the front court weak. And if they keep the whole core and lose, then it's that they were too cowardly to make the changes that would have given them a chance to win it.

We already saw that at the end of the Dallas series with some reporters writing that maybe the Lakers would have gone further if they'd have done the Carmelo for Bynum trade. Others think the Lakers should have at least TRIED to make offers for Williams &/or CP3 before the trade deadline. Who knows, maybe they could have scored Williams for Drew. I know Laker Tom and Jim Buss would have hated it, but it would make them a more balanced team.

The one comforting fact is that off all the GMs in the league, Mitch has had his team in the finals more than any other team this century, and won as many rings (West gets credit for the first two Lakers victories, Mitch made tweaks for the 2002 team & built the 2009 & 2010 teams).

If anyone can get the team back to the finals quickly, Mitch can.

@POINT FORWARD… What was telling was LeBron not even looking at the basket when the ball came to him but instead quickly passing it on like the 12th man on the roster suddenly thrust into the game. He point blank played scared and pulled a Pau Gasol on his team. OK, a LeBron James. It will be interesting to see how LeBron does next year as teams look to replicate what the Mavs did.

I can't decide if I want Shannon Brown to opt in to his contract or not. On the one hand, he was pretty mediocre this season. On the other hand, the Lakers don't have a lot of options and they could get a worse backup SG.

Remember, last summer we were all kinda thinking that Blake would be an upgrade at PG because he'd be humble and would fit in with the triangle better. So they let Farmar walk. Look how that turned out. Same thing could happen if they let Shannon walk. But if they overpay him (which is what he wants - along with every other NBA player), he could be the next Sasha Vujacic (played a stretch of good ball for awhile, got a contract and then never played as well).

@LRob: Sorry, I didn't see anyone who remotely resembled 'Doc' in the trumpet/horn section of Cab's band in that clip.

BTW, I agree with you on Beaubois, but I can't see Cuban giving him up to the Ls, plus you have to wonder why Carlisle didn't play him, unless he was injured...or maybe outta respect for JKidd.

Let's go Ls...and make a comeback next season!!!!!



@GDUB - Yeah I know Cubes ain't giving up Roddy...wishful thinking :-) He was injured late in the season (sprained foot) and probably could've returned for the finals but the Mavs were rolling by then. The amazing thing about Dallas run was they did it without Butler and Beaubois.

this was written:

It sounds ... like you don't know ... what team ... basketball ... is ... and wouldn't recognize it ... if you ... saw ... it

Posted by: jimjoyce25 | June 13, 2011 at 09:48 PM

my response:

If you're very courageous why don't you take a stroll through the archives
and see how many times "TEAM" basketball is linked to the number of
shot attempts Kobe takes *REGARDLESS* of the percentage of his teammates
during the game.


:) re: team ball. Actually, you're one of the chief villains in this tale. How
many times did we read your words: "Make Drew the focus of the offense.
Drew needs to get more touches. Play inside-outside basketball. Trade
Pau. Trade Lamar. " The relevance of your comments is that you were
constantly trying to get Drew more offensive touches at the expense of
everybody else on the team. Which ties in to the definition of "TEAM"
basketball, which per your words/examples *seems* to be that Kobe should
pass the ball more than he should shoot so that the Lakers will look more
like Showtime.

fwiw, I particularly like your comments about Drew needs to get more
offensive touches in order to participate on defense. I like it because it
was refuted by NuggetsCountry [ a former professional player ] & the play
of Tyson Chandler [ a player whom you've been less than respectful about
in your abundance of Laker hope/love. ]

Feel free to go back and look at the postings of: KL_Beast, Gunner, Island
Priest(es) & find out how many times "TEAM" basketball & ballhog are in
the same post when talking about Kobe Bryant. Sorry, forgot to throw out
G. Money & NorCal in the Bloggers Hall of Shame.


You're right that the GM position is sort of a "damned if you don't, damned if you do" sort of thing.

People are unable to view things in a detached way. Results are the only thing that matters. If the Lakers would have been able to win the title this year, then the results justify the actions - even if another action would have made the situation even BETTER.

The reverse is true. Perhaps there was no possible way the Lakers could have won it this year. In that scenario, how do you judge what actions would have been better than others?

People in general are unable to view the world this way. I'd say Fans are the worst. Last season, for example, the Lakers won the title, and that was complete justification for allowing Fisher to continue the starting job and making the swap for Blake. Who's to say that going a different route wouldn't have yielded a title + set us up for another one this year? We'll never know.

What I can tell you is that I don't necessarily trust the front office with the bigger decisions at this point because their recent track record is horrible with the smaller decisions.

Sure, making a trade for Carmelo or even trying to get DWill or CP3 is a huge gamble that could make a huge difference one way or the other. But how about last summer when TMac was begging for a try out and the Lakers didn't even bother? Here was a situation with upside that was 1. Low Risk 2. Decent Payoff

Lakers management can't even see a low risk opportunity that has upside? Seriously??? That's mind boggling to me.

It's the same mistake with Ratliff. What did the Lakers truly attempt to gain over MBenga? At best you'd have a guy that wouldn't shoot as much. At worst you'd have a guy that couldn't defend, was too old to play, or would disrupt the rotation should one of the bigs go down. This was a high risk for low reward type of situation.

And then with Farmar, the front office was hoping to score a tie in terms of talent, but with the risk of losing the upside that the younger player had + his experience.


If they can't figure out the small stuff that has low impact, how can I expect them to figure out the big stuff that has a huge impact?

Battier? Really?

So is your plan to trade Barnes &/or Artest to get a PG? Bench one of them?

I could see trying to sign Battier in that case, but if they're both going to be around, then he seems kind of superfluous. He is a decent 3-point shooter, but can he play SG? Is he meant to replace Brown?

...or do you know something about the Lakers' plans that we don't?



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