Shane Battier apparently rocked his interview with the Detroit Pistons, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports:
The Detroit Pistons were impressed by Heat director of basketball development and analytics Shane Battier, which is no surprise. He's expected to get a 2nd interview with them this week for a front office position, per source.— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) May 22, 2018
In many ways, Battier seemingly checks the boxes for a GM candidate. He’s well-respected, has front office experience, and even has a Detroit connection as a Detroit County Day School graduate. He’s also a two-time NBA champion, made a couple of All NBA Defensive teams, and was the 2013-14 Teammate of the Year. LeBron James even once called Shane Battier the smartest player and person in basketball.
Battier was also an early adopter of sabermetrics, even including them in his game preparations. Battier was one of the Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey’s early roster finds that helped him become the face of analytics in the NBA, so it makes sense that he would dive in headfirst.
Battier talks a bit about his perspective on advanced analytics in an interview here. He goes into some anecdotes about how embracing analytics specifically helped him slow down opposing players, but he sums up his perspective pretty well with this:
In the NBA, as we all know, the margin between wins and loses is very, very thin. So those tenths of points matter. And that’s all it really is. It’s no different than playing the stock market. You’re trying to shave percentage points off your risk. And if you can accumulate enough, guess what? You’re going to do very well.
And this quote is pretty great:
“I’ve always been the nerd,” he says. “That’s something I’ve embraced. I don’t think I would have ever had the basketball career I was able to have if I wasn’t so analytical. The hallmark of my basketball career is the use of basketball analytics and sabermetrics. I wear that as a badge of honor. I was never athletic or good-looking enough to make it on talent alone, so I had to make it as the basketball nerd.”
One other fun fact about Battier, he even played alongside a current Piston. He played with Ish Smith in 2010-11 in Houston and the two were traded together to Memphis midseason.
But on the flip side, Battier really hasn’t had much seasoning time in a front office just yet. He’s only been with the Heat for barely over a year.
His role with the franchise where he helped win a pair of titles has him focus on “analytics in evaluating all talent, including college, free agents and current Miami players.” He was on board in time to prep for last year’s draft, when the Heat made a rather puzzling choice to draft Bam Adebayo despite already having Hassan Whiteside. Yet Adebayo had an excellent rookie season and has essentially sent their mercurial franchise player to the trade block.
Other candidates who have reportedly received interest from the Pistons include Ed Stafanski, Kiki Vandeweghe, Gersson Rosas, Trajan Langdon, and Brent Barry (funnily enough, Battier once named Barry as his smartest teammate).
Though, if Battier eventually makes his way to back to Detroit...let’s keep him away from the karoake bars.