Shane Battier’s selfless and efficient approach to the game has already been lauded and talked about. But I don’t think we really recognize how ridiculously efficient Battier is as a shooter. For example, Battier’s true shooting percentage is 62.6%. LeBron’s is 62.7%. Think about that for a second; Battier has essentially the same true shooting percentage as the greatest player in the game (granted Battier shoots a lot less than LeBron, but still).
To really understand just how efficiently Shane Battier shoots, seeing really is believing. Let’s look at Battier’s shot chart.
In case you haven’t noticed, most of Battier’s shots are three-pointers, and more specifically, Battier’s shots tend to be corner three-pointers, arguably one of the most efficient shots in basketball.
Battier is really really good at shooting threes (wellll except for maybe the right side of the three point line, “above the break”). I know this is an obvious statement after seeing the shot chart, but when I think Shane Battier, I don’t think three-point shooter extraordinaire. And yet, that’s exactly what he is — he takes good shots, from good spots. (Still, each time I scroll up and see the shot chart, I semi-ask myself if that’s really Shane Battier’s shot chart).
The other thing to notice is that Battier does not shoot anything but three-pointers (nor is he particularly efficient at scoring at anywhere but the three-point area; something like 87.5% of his points comes from threes). This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially since the league struggles with shooting mid-range shots, particularly longer distance mid-range shots. Battier has not even attempted a shot in three of the five long-distance mid-range zones (sounds like an oxymoron, I know)
The crux of this is that teams know that all Battier can do is shoot threes — and yet he’s still really successful from the three point area. Yes, it helps to have slashers and scorers like Dwayne Wade and LeBron James to open up the space, and draw help defenders away from the perimeter. But make no doubt about it, even with defenses knowing that Battier is going to be essentially shooting exclusively from the three-point line, Battier still makes his three-pointers, and makes them from the most efficient places on the court.