On Charles Barkley and the value of analytics
Charles Barkley went all in Tuesday night on TNT’s Inside the NBA with a rant against the growing influence of analytics in the NBA.
The focus of Barkley’s ire was the Houston Rockets and general manager Daryl Morey, who is as pro-analytics as they come. According to Barkley:
“(They’re the worst team defensively) among teams that are going to make the playoffs. They’re awful defensively. Just because you’ve got good stats, doesn’t mean you’re a good team defense. They’re not a good defensive team. They gave up 118 points (in a win against Phoenix earlier in the night). No good team gives up 118 points.
“I’m not worried about Daryl Morey. He’s one of those idiots who believes in analytics. He went out and got James Harden and Dwight Howard, and then he’s going to tell me that’s analytics? Then he went out and got Trevor Ariza. Then he went out and got Josh Smith. I’ve always believed analytics is crap. I’ve never mentioned the Rockets as a legitimate contender, because they’re not.
“Analytics don’t work at all. It’s just some crap that people who were really smart made up to try to get in the game because they had no talent. Because they had no talent to be able to play, so smart guys wanted to fit in, so they made up a term called analytics. Analytics don’t work.”
We’re not sure what set Barkley off, and naturally the pro-analytics crowd has been out in full force since his comments (because what would a Hall of Fame player know about what it takes to play in the NBA?), and we’re really not comfortable with him calling Morey an idiot (you can criticize someone for not playing well or doing their job well, but you don’t make it personal).
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a little bit truth in what Barkley had to say.