Grizzlies have no second thoughts about Battier
Updated: Thursday June 28, 2001 3:30 AM
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- The Vancouver Grizzlies had no reason to hesitate before picking Shane Battier as their first choice in the NBA draft.
"We didn't need to take the five minutes," said Grizzlies general manager Billy Knight. "We knew as soon as Golden State said they were taking Jason Richardson. We didn't need any time to think about it."
Golden State picked fifth. The Grizzlies, officially expected to move to Memphis later this summer, picked sixth.
The Duke forward and college player of the year said he was looking forward to joining the Grizzlies and settling in Memphis, though the NBA has yet to approve the team's move to Tennessee.
"I'm really thrilled to go to the Grizzlies," Battier said in a telephone conference call from New York, where the draft was held.
"I just felt a sense of relief, to tell you the truth -- that the madness was finally over and I finally had a home," he said.
Battier, a 6-foot-8 forward, said he hopes to help the Grizzlies right away and even to become a team leader.
"The most important thing initially is to earn my team's respect," he said. "Once I do that then I can offer some verbal advice. But initially, I'm going to do a lot of listening, a lot of observing."
Although the Grizzlies did not officially make the selection, they also got Pau Gasol of Barcelona, Spain, in the first round.
Earlier in the day, the Grizzlies traded their top scorer, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, to Atlanta for the Hawks' No. 3 pick. Atlanta picked Gasol.
The trade cannot be completed until July 18. It also will bring the Hawks' Brevin Knight and Lorenzen Wright to the Grizzlies.
Knight said he hated to lose Abdur-Rahim, the Grizzlies' top scorer, but felt he would be happy in Atlanta.
"Sometimes these decisions are made in sports. We got three players back, three good players who we think can contribute to this team for a long time," he said.
Battier said one contribution he hopes to make right away is helping Gasol with the transition to American basketball.
"I know it's going to be a big culture shock for him, but I know I can be a mentor for him right off the bat," he said.