May 26, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Miami Heat small forward Shane Battier (31) grabs a rebound against the Indiana Pacers in game three of the Eastern Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Heat won 114-96. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

The Rise and Fall of Shane Battier

Do you remember the Shane Batter from last year’s NBA Finals?  The Shane Battier that was always in the right place at the right time?  The Shane Batter that was able to knock down three pointer after three pointer after three…you get the idea. I mean, look at his shot chart from last year’s playoffs — 2011-2012 Playoff Shane Battier could really hit the outside shot.

Battier 2011-2012 Playoffs

Remember him?  Because after watching Shane Battier throughout the playoffs, I can’t even imagine how Battier could have scored 17 points (including making five three-pointers) in an NBA Finals game almost a year ago.

Battier is shooting 23.0% from three point range (he’s 14-for-61).  He’s scored a total of 60 points throughout the playoffs, which is exactly what David West has scored in the first three games of the Eastern Conference Finals.  Think about that for a second:  David West, who is not known for his offense at all, has scored just as many points in the first three games of this series as Shane Battier has scored in the entire post-season.

I once lauded Shane Battier as a model of efficiency.

“Look” I said,” here’s a guy that really gets it.  He knows he won’t (or can’t) impact the game in a huge way (he’s not going to drop 40 points on the other team), so he does all the little things to help his team win.  Such as becoming a corner three specialist, crashing the boards, and defending the opponent’s best player.”

But Battier has lost his effectiveness: he is only 13-for-56 from three point range in the playoffs, he has only grabbed 24 rebounds in 274 minutes of play — Battier is slumping, and he’s slumping hard.

The thing is, Battier played pretty well in the regular season (for a bench player)!  He was hitting his shot (43% from three point range), he played great defense (he averaged three times as many blocks per 48 minutes during the regular season compared to the playoffs) — oh, and did I mention he was actually able to hit the broad side of a barn during the regular season?

He went from a shot chart like this (Battier’s 2012-2013 Regular Season Shot Chart)…

Shane Battier Shot Chart 2012-2013 Regular Season

to a shot chart like this (Battier’s 2012-2013 Playoff Shot Chart)…

Shane Battier Shot Chart 2012-2013 Playoffs

It’s quite clear how well Battier shot during the regular season, and how much he’s been struggling in the playoffs.  The Heat need Battier to regain his regular season form — after all, last year’s NBA Finals served to illustrate just how crucial a productive Battier is to the Miami Heat.

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Tags: Miami Heat NBA NBA Playoffs Shane Battier

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