Shane Battier on diversity in NBA analytics: ‘The odds would have been against me’ The former Heat forward discusses his current role with the franchise, the power of data, and the greatness of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant

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Former 13-year NBA forward Shane Battier is in his fourth season as a member of the Miami Heat’s analytics department, the last three as the team’s vice president of basketball development and analytics. In that role, Battier, who played for the Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets and Heat, acts as the franchise’s “futurist,” using predictive data to analyze basketball and put the Heat in the best possible position to be successful.

In theory, that has paid dividends, as the Heat are currently playing in the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers just four seasons after losing LeBron James to free agency and one year after the retirement tour of Dwyane Wade. Though Battier can’t comment on his role in bringing them aboard, advanced analytics (and, of course, scouting) can be credited with the acquisition of players such as Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn and Bam Adebayo, unheralded draft picks and free agents who played huge roles in getting the Heat back into contention in the Eastern Conference.

The son of a white mother and Black father, Battier is one of few African Americans working in an analytics department in the NBA, a job that more likely…


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