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Shane Battier Credits Daryl Morey, Sam Hinkie for Analytics Guidance

Former Rockets forward Shane Battier was known as one of the more cerebral players in his 14 NBA seasons from 2001-14. And the Duke product has continued to embrace the game's mental side following his retirement. 

Battier currently serves as the Heat's vice president of basketball development and analytics, a position he's held since the 2017-18 season. Battier's work appears to be paying off. The Heat drafted talented youngsters Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo late in the lottery in recent seasons, and they've added Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn in free agency. Miami stands as one of the most analytics-friendly teams in the league, a skill that can in-part be attributed to Battier. 

So how did Battier get schooled in the world of analytics? Rockets general manager Daryl Morey deserves a share of the credit.

"I was lucky to play for Daryl Morey and Sam Hinkey, who taught me how to look at the data," Battier told The Athletic's Kelly Iko and Mo Dakhil. "Analytics is like blackjack. When the dealer has a five showing, what do you do? You double down. Why? Because the book tells you that is the best play at the time and gives you the most chance to win the hand and win money."

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Battier continued with the blackjack metaphor, discussing how analytics impacted his defense of NBA stars like Kobe Bryant. 

"Analytics has a lot of the same aspects as [blackjack]," Battier said. "When you make Kobe Bryant go to his left hand, he'll score 44% of the time. When he goes to his right hand, he's gonna score 56% of the day. So you don't need to be a math genius to understand that the defender should take Kobe to his left hand."

Battier played some of the best basketball of his career in Houston, a five-year stretch from 2006-11. He was an integral member of the Rockets' 22-game winning streak in 2007, and he tallied nearly 36 win shares in 370 games. Battier retired in 2014 as a two-time champion and two time All-Defense selection.