Battier In A Club All His Own
By Brian Martin
With Miami's win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, Shane Battier became a member of his own club -- he is the only player in NBA history to be a part of two 20-game win streaks.
Battier was a member of the 2007-08 Houston Rockets, who won 22 straight games to hold the second longest streak in league history, behind only the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers at 33 games.
And Battier's former team is Battier's current team's next target. While three teams have had 20-game win streaks in the regular season -- only the Rockets and Lakers have ever won more.
"I welcome my teammates to the 20-win club," said Battier after Wednesday's win. "I told them I'll teach them the secret handshake on the flight tonight."
While the secret handshake may be the same now as it was five years ago, Battier's contribution to each streak has changed.
Battier's Per-Game Stats During Winning Streaks
While a member of the Rockets in 2008, Battier was a starter, averaging 10.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 38.2 minutes per game during the 22-game streak.
For Miami, Battier is a role player, coming off the bench in all but three games during this 20-game streak and averaging 25.1 minutes a night, while posting averages of 7.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.
Battier's Shooting During Winning Streaks
But it's not just a matter of his minutes and usage dropping between Houston and Miami, Battier is also playing a different game in South Beach than he was in Texas.
With the talent-laden Heat, Battier is afforded the luxury of playing a specialist role on offense. He is a 3-point shooter and has been one of the best in the league (currently tied for 11th with a 42.5 3-point shooting percentage). During the streak, that percentage has jumped to 51.7 percent, compared to just 39.8 percent during Rockets winning streak.
Battier's Scoring During Winning Streaks
|Year||%PTS (2PT)||%PTS (3PT)||%3FGM||FGM (%AST)|
%3FGM: Percentage of team 3-pointers made by a player, FGM (%AST): Percentage of field goals made that were assisted
More importantly, 89.4 percent of Battier's points are coming off of 3-pointers during the Heat streak, while only 59.0 percent of his points came on threes during the Rockets streak. Over the past 20 games, Battier has attempted 94 shots - 87 of which were threes. He has attempted only six shots in the paint (three in the restricted area) and one mid-range shot.
Battier's Shot Distribution During Winning Streaks
LC3: Left-Corner Three, RC3: Right Corner Three, ATB3: Above the Break Three
The most common of Battier's shots is the corner three, where he has gone 29-of-56 (51.8%), with each shot being assisted. While the corner three is regarded as the better shot, Battier has been just as good on above the break threes, hitting 16-of-31 (51.6%) during the Heat streak.
Battier's Advanced Stats During Winning Streaks
While there are some stark contrasts when comparing Battier's numbers from Houston in 2008 to Miami in 2013, there are some that remain consistent, including on-court net rating (14.7 with Rockets, 15.5 with Heat), assist percentage (8.9 to 7.4), assist to turnover ratio (3.18 to 3.13), rebound percentage (8.0 to 6.9), usage rate (11.5% to 10.6%) and PIE (8.5% to 8.4%).
Both in Houston and in Miami, Battier has been a key contributor to a historic win streak. It remains to be seen if his current team can surpass his former team. Either way it is a special accomplishment that only he can claim to have achieved.