Charles Barkley has a serious axe to grind with the Golden State Warriors. Maybe he still resents the abolishment of hand-checking that allows their style of play to be possible (check that, he definitely does), but whatever it is, he just keeps banging that drum of “they aren’t all that great” while they lay waste to the NBA.
Barkley was on the Waddle & Silvy show (it’s not a radio show unless it’s got an ampersand in the title) on ESPN Radio when he was asked how these Warriors would match up against the team whose record they’re chasing, the 72-10 1996 Chicago Bulls. Would you believe he favors the Bulls? It’s true! He contended, “That Bulls team would kill this little team. Come on, man. Who is going to guard Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan? What about Dennis Rodman?”
Barkley continued, “I still like the Spurs to win the championship this year. Just because these guys are beating up on inferior competition, don’t overreact now.”
As tough as it was for the NBA to guard Pippen and Jordan, it’s just as tough for the league to guard these Warriors now. Although a Rodman-Draymond matchup down low would be pay-per-view television by itself. But that “little team” comment is the dumbest part of it. The Warriors aren’t a below-average team in size — heck, Steph Curry is 6’3, and Andrew Bogut is a more skilled big man than Luc Longley ever was (no disrespect to Longley). We have no idea who’d win between the two teams, mostly because playing by one era’s set of rules would severely hamstring the opponent. Sure, there’s the Michael Jordan factor, but Curry is now averaging 32 points per game and has fully demonstrated the ability to take over games by scoring off of shots he created for himself. He can play hero ball if need be.
And there’s nothing wrong with predicting the Spurs to win the championship; they’re also incredible. But criticizing the Warriors for beating up on inferior competition is a tautology. Of course they’re inferior competition if the Warriors are better than everyone else! Charles Barkley is apparently just going to keep banging this dumb gong until the Warriors go 73-9 and win back-to-back titles. And even then I bet he’ll have something snarky to say.