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Evaluating Tony Battie

This week, 3QC will take a look back on each Magic player's 2008/2009 season. Each day focuses on one position: Monday for point guards, Tuesday for shooting guards, Wednesday for small forwards, Thursday for power forwards, and Friday for centers. I'll evaluate each individual player at that position at regular intervals throughout the day, while Eddy will make a general survey of the position later in the afternoon.

We'll begin the day with a look at Tony Battie. Later this afternoon, we'll zero-in on Rashard Lewis.

Tony Battie
No. 4 Power Forward
Points Per Game Rebounds Per Game Blocks Per Game
4.8 3.6 0.3
Points Per 36 Rebounds Per 36 Blocks Per 36
11.1 8.3 0.7
PER Rebound Rate Block Rate
11.9 13.0 1.5
FG% 3FG% FT%
48.9% 22.2% 65.9%
eFG% TS%
49.2% 51.8%

All statistics in this table from Battie's player page at basketball-reference. Career-high statistics highlighted in gold.

The Orlando Magic were all too happy to welcome Tony Battie back to their lineup this season. He missed all of 2007/08 with a shoulder injury he suffered while trying to guard Dwight Howard in training camp. As a result, the Magic had no choice but to play Adonal Foyle heavy minutes at center. Although the injury exception the league granted the team allowed it to obtain Brian Cook from the L.A. Lakers, in addition to Maurice Evans, Cook didn't really pan out. Indeed, the Magic missed Battie's ability to mop-up minutes at power forward and center last year. But how'd he fare in his return?

Uh, well, not too bad, but not too great, either. Battie is a known commodity, really. He's appeared in more career games than every other role-player on last year's Magic roster apart from Anthony Johnson, who has a scant 5-game edge. Battie's job with Orlando was to spread the floor with his reasonably accurate mid-range jumper; initiate offense from the high post; give opposing big-men grief defensively; and rebound. For the most part, he carried out these tasks capably. He's a solid player, one whom many teams would have coveted via trade--don't laugh, you know GMs love veteran power forwards--if not for his salary.

That's my biggest issue with Tony--not effort, the perceived lack of which The Nickel Steak detests-- and it's not his fault for inking a deal that pays him handsomely. He'll earn $6.2 million from the New Jersey Nets in 2009/10, the last year of the extension he signed with the Magic in 2006. This year, he earned $5.746 million, but produced at a less-than-stellar rate. His value rating--which measures player performance against his salary--of 34.45% was the lowest of any Magic player.

Oddly, the high salary proved to be a blessing in the end. Were he compensated in a way more befitting his abilities, the Magic would not have been able to acquire Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson from the Nets last week without offering a few more players.

But back to what he does on the floor. Apart from his monster--and I use this phrase completely unironically--game against the Philadelphia 76ers in November, nothing he did really stood out. 20 points on 9-of-9 shooting from a guy who's cracked that threshold 5 times in 10 seasons? Yeah, that's a big night. But that's also it, as far as big games for Tony this year. On the whole, he was average at best, and an offensive liabilty at the worst. If his jumper isn't falling, he's not helping your offense very much, as he's not much of an inside threat.

With all that said, I'm sure the Magic would welcome Battie back were the Nets to buy him out. To be clear, there's no indication that New Jersey is even contemplating such a move. But the Magic's big-man rotation, as of today, is merely Howard, Lewis, and Anderson. The latter two players are perimeter-oriented power forwards, although Anderson has nontheless proven to be a capable rebounder. For the right price (read: the minimum) Battie would make a welcome addition to a depleted roster.

Grade: C