MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 29: Shane Battier #31 of the Miami Heat looks on during a game against the Chicago Bulls at American Airlines Arena on January 29, 2012 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
There was a lot of excitement in South Florida when the Miami Heat signed free-agent Shane Battier, who is known for his strong defense and ability to hit the long-range jumper. Unfortunately, the offensive game hasn't quite come around for Battier since joining the Heat. For the first time in his career, he is thinking too much. With teammates like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, it's hard not to think of deferring to them when the ball is in your hands. Said Battier:
"I'm struggling with the age old question of when to pass and when to shoot. That's the basic philosophy on offense. The great Hubie Brown said, ‘Know when to pass, know when to shoot,' and I'm finding a way to mess that up."
Eventually he is going to have to make the adjustment to stop thinking and get back to where he can rely on his instinct. If not, his cold shooting start to the season could extend through the spring. As it stands right now, Battier is shooting just 31.3% from the field this season. He hasn't hit a shot in his last four games, going 0-for-10 from the field and 0-for-6 from downtown.
The 31.3% shooting is a career low for Shane, as are the 23 minutes per game he is averaging. Thankfully Battier is on a team that doesn't really have a problem putting points on the board. Defense is always the focus with the Heat, and that is an area that Battier has been able to contribute on a high level. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was quick to bring that up while defending Battier to the media:
"A lot of this is rhythm and timing and getting used to his minutes. [Battier] is doing a lot of other good things that we notice and that a lot of other people probably don't notice."