Name: Tony Battie
Birth Date: February 11, 1976 (age 33)
Birth Place: Dallas, TX
College: Texas Tech University
Drafted: 1997, 1st round, 5th overall by Denver
Experience: 12 seasons
Contract: $6 million in 2009-10
When Tony Battie came to the NBA out of Texas Tech as the 5th overall pick in 1997, Battie was a pretty athletic big man who used his athleticism as an advantage on this inside. Injuries really hurt Battie though, and he was never able to reach his full potential because of it. Battie's offensive game is pretty lacking for the most part, and his career high in PPG was during his rookie season 12 years ago (8.4 PPG).
More recently, Battie has seen his offensive numbers decline steadily over the past three years, though for the most part this is due to the emergence of Dwight Howard leading to a lower number of minutes Battie got. Battie can eat up minutes at both the PF and the C spot. That being said, Battie is much more efficient at the C spot than at the PF spot. Playing at the PF spot Battie had a PER of 11.9, while at the C spot, Battie's PER was 15.1. Keeping in mind that the average NBA player's PER is 15, you see that Battie was right around average playing center. Pretty good for a back-up.
Battie was also a better shooter when playing center. His eFG% at PF was 43%, while at center Battie's eFG% was C. This makes sense, because Battie would be able to get more touches inside when Dwight was in the game. Let's take a look at his shot chart:
As you can see Battie is solid around the basket, but if you start backing him up, he shot becomes iffy. Another problem for Battie will be the uptempo offense that the Nets will (hopefully) be running this year. As mentioned before Battie is older, and this could come into play when he is trying to run up and down the court, keeping up with our kids. This will probably mean we will only be seeing him in short stints.
For those who think we found our new back-up to Brook and we can now have Boone stapled to the bench, I don't know if that is possible. To me, at least offensively Battie is just an older version of Boone.
For me, the value of a back-up (or 3rd string) center is that he can play the opposing team's big man real tough, not worry about foul trouble and basically try to wear out and out work the competition. While Boone may have trouble doing that most times, that will never be a problem for Battie. The guy just battles when he is on the court, and you won't have to worry about him not using up his fouls. Up until last year, Battie was averaging anywhere from 2.5 to 3.2 fouls per game, a pretty high amount for a backup.
Besides hitting the competition, Battie also hits the defensive boards pretty hard. Battie has averaged 3.6 Defensive Rebounds Per Game over his career, and as a career back-up for the most part, this is nothing to sneeze at.
Battie might be most valuable for the Nets off of the court. After the trade, Dwight Howard let it be known that he looked up to Battie as sort of a big brother, and he was partly responsible for his development in the league. Everyone who talks about Battie seems to love his professionalism and there could be worse guys mentoring Brook. Shoot, he could even get to Sean Williams. Doubtful, but still...
Depending on how Sean Williams and Josh Boone play to start the year, Battie may be the odd man out in terms of playing time. That could possibly result with him being placed on the Inactive List for stretches during the season. However if one of the two guys mentioned slip up, Battie would be a serviceable back-up or third string center for the Nets.
Our two favorite Magic media members (the guys who announced the summer league) sat down with Tony Battie, and here is the video:
More on Battie