Shane Battier on Playing with The Big 3: “Their talent is off the charts, I’m looking forward to making those guys better.”

December 14, 2011 – 10:10 am by Michael Bean

The narrative surrounding the Miami Heat last year — outside of the arrival of the Big 3 of course — was whether there were enough complimentary pieces around LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. The answer was not an unequivocal no, but there’s no denying that the Big 3 could have benefited from one or two more quality players to help out.  Well, the right kind of help may have just arrived in the form of Shane Battier. The former Grizzly and Rocket will find a way to fit in perfectly on offense, and on the other end of the court, Battier’s versatility on defense will take a lot of pressure off all three stars.

Battier joined 790 The Ticket in Miami with Jorge Sedano to talk about why he decided to sign with the Heat, what role he sees himself occupying on his new team, if he has a relationship with any of the Big 3 of LeBron, D-Wade and Chris Bosh, all the wide open looks he’ll have from the corner playing with offensive talents like Wade and James, and how he’d rather play for a team that evokes lots of attention and scrutiny and emotion rather than one that nobody cares about.

On the process of deciding to sign with the Heat:

“Well it was a crazy process. When we finally ended the locket with a handshake agreement, nobody really knew what the financial terms were, so I didn’t know where I was going to be headed. After a few days, details started to trickle out and I was able to say this team has cap space, this team has space, this team has room. And when teams were able to contact my agent, there was some interest, but I still wasn’t able to really figure what all was out there. It wasn’t until probably a week ago that I could really start narrowing my focus on different teams.  There were about three or four teams that I was really interested in, and I had to make a choice between going after a bigger payday or do I want to have a winning role. And for me at this point in my career, I’ve been about having an impact on the game and having a winning role, and it was pretty clear to me that the Miami Heat were the best situation for me.”

What does he see his role being on the Heat:

“That’s a great question. I’m a basketball player, and I really don’t consider myself a 3 or a 4. I have always prided myself on being versatile enough to go in and impact the game wherever the team needs me. So we’re still figuring that out. We have such an amazing, versatile team that we can throw out there with Dwyane Wade and LeBron, who are two of the most versatile players in the game — and CB is versatile too. So I’m going to do a little bit of 2, a little bit of 3, 4 — I’m comfortable defending all those positions. So it will be fun to mix and match lineups.”

If he has relationships with any of the Big 3:

“Yeah I played with Chris, Dwyane and LeBron in 2006 on the USA National Team in the World Championships in Japan. If you looked way down the bench, maybe you’d see me waving a towel. So I got to know all those guys a little bit then. They’re all professionals, and their talent is off the charts. So I’m looking forward to making those guys better.”

On all the wide open three-point looks he’s going to get playing with Wade and James:

“I’ll tell you what: I had more corner 3′s yesterday in practice than I probably did in the last three or four years. When you play with really good players who command a lot of attention, nobody’s going to be worried about me. So that’s fine. I’ll be in the corner, I’ll be open, and if they decide to pass it to me I’ll be ready and make my fair share.”

If he’s ready for all the media attention that comes with the Heat, not all of it positive:

“Well I’ve already noticed my Twitter account, I’ve lost a few fans. Which is fine, it’s okay. It reminds me back of my Duke days at Duke University. Believe it or not, not everybody liked the Blue Devils. We heard everything in the book. And I go back to what Coach K would tell us — ‘if people are booing you, at least you’re evoking some sort of emotion.’ You have to be worried if nobody boos you or cheers you or is apathetic to you, that means you don’t evoke anything. So I’d much rather evoke too much emotion at this point than evoke apathy.”

Listen here to Battier with Jorge Sedano on 790 The Ticket in Miami (interview begins at 1:49:30 mark)

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