Charles Barkley was the target of Daryl Morey’s ire Tuesday night, as the Houston Rockets general manager tweeted about Barkley’s refusal to accept advanced statistical analysis in today’s NBA. Barkley is — for lack of a better term — “old school” in his approach to analyzing the game, and a pregame comment about the Suns and Rockets (the two teams in the first half of a TNT double-header) being the two worst defensive teams in the NBA didn’t sit well with Morey.
Best part of being at a TNT game live is it is easy to avoid Charles spewing misinformed biased vitriol disguised as entertainment
— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) February 11, 2015
According to NBA.com, the Rockets and Suns are currently #7 and #17 in defensive rating, respectively, so Barkley is clearly wrong there. However, a more forgiving stat for Barkley is points allowed per game, where Phoenix ranks 28th in the league. Unfortunately, Houston is smack dab in the middle, ranked 15th, which essentially kills that argument. Conveniently, the game was a high scoring affair (127-118), allowing Barkley to use the “scoreboard” argument to further prove his point, although ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh did remind the world that Barkley’s 1992-93 Suns — a team that won 62 games and ranked 9th in defensive rating — surrendered 118 or more points 11 times that season.
Barkley: “No good team gives up 118 points.” His ’93 Suns gave up 118+ points 11 times in the regular season. Went to the Finals.
— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) February 11, 2015
Sick burn…I guess? Ultimately, the whole back and forth is pointless. Neither side is ever going to convince the other that they are wrong. This will become especially annoying in the spring if/when Houston gets bounced in the first round of the playoffs (again) and Barkley unleashes a five-minute rant in the TNT studio, claiming victory over the stat geeks. It doesn’t mean that he’s right — we’re just telling you to be prepared for it.