If there’s an ‘idiot’ here, it’s Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley Daryl Morey

By now you’ve heard about Charles Barkley blasting Daryl Morey and the analytics movement in the NBA after Tuesday night’s game.

After Barkley said at halftime that the Rockets were “one of the two worst defensive teams in the NBA”, a claim that is truly ridiculous, Morey responded with a tweet:

Barkley then went into the tirade against Morey in post-game that is full of more holes than the street meat he craves.

But what was really eye-opening was that Barkley said Morey, who he called an “idiot”, has only made the obvious moves of adding superstar talent.

“He went out and got James Harden and Dwight Howard and (he’s) going to tell me that’s analytics,” said Barkley.

Interesting, because here’s what Barkley had to say about the Harden trade at the time. Two days after Morey pulled off the deal and gave him the then-controversial $80 million contract, Barkley went on ESPN’s Pardon The Interruption (full audio) and said how great of a trade it was…

… for the Thunder.

I love the Oklahoma City trade. I think that trade made them better. I’m a Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb fan. I like that trade a lot for them.

Host Tony Kornheiser then asked Barkley point blank if he felt Harden was a “foundational player the way the Rockets apparently do.”

I do not. I do not see him like that for the simple fact (that) being an instant offense off the bench, when they’re going to give you the ball every time and you’re the dominant scorer, it won’t work like that when you’re in a traditional offense.

Ouch. Harden, currently riding back-to-back games of 40+ points, is now considered by many to be the NBA’s MVP leader this season. This is revisionist history at its finest. Barkley would have you believe this was an obvious move, yet he himself did not see this coming out of Harden.

On the other hand, Morey — as well as many others who believe in so-called “analytics” — did.

“We feel like James Harden is a player we can build around. He’s an elite offensive player, a complete player. I still think he’s an underrated player,” said Morey the day after the trade. “He’s absolutely someone that, when they see him step into the role of a star with the Houston Rockets, people are going to realize just how good he is.”

Added Morey: “To win the title, you have to have a foundational player, and James is that.”

And if you like watching Barkley flip flop, here’s a more recent case as Barkley completely changes course on Josh Smith (who he implied last night was an obvious addition by Morey) in the span of a month, going from a mistake signing to the second-best player on the team who needs 10-15 shots a night.

However, what is being lost in the shuffle of an unnecessary debate over analytics is the history that sparked Morey’s tweet in the first place — Barkley’s consistent hatred for the Houston Rockets that has spanned for years now. It’s hard to believe this is a player who donned the uniform for four seasons and said at the time that he wished he had played his whole career here.

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