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Charles Barkley Still Doesn’t Think The Warriors Can Win The Title Or That The Sky Is Blue

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Charles Barkley is about to fall into a major hole when it comes to jump-shooting teams.

The defending champion 72-9 Warriors, who Barkley said couldn’t win a title last season because they were a jump-shooting team, is at it again. Even after a 139-24 regular-season record over the past two years and one set of rings later, Charles isn’t changing his tune.

Chuck doesn’t believe in chucking. And he said so during Tuesday night’s segment discussing the Warriors on TNT’s Inside the NBA:

If the Golden State Warriors win the championship this year, I will get on my knees and congratulate them, because let me tell you something. Regardless of what y’all say, if you go back and actually look at the playoffs last year, they did not play one team that was healthy in the playoffs. They did not play one team —

Turner colleague Kenny Smith tried to save Barkley by blurting out “But they beat them!” Unfortunately, Barkley walked right back into his own trap:

If they get through this gauntlet this year with that jump — see, because everybody acts like they got a championship shooting jump shots last year. They actually did not. They won because LeBron got tired because Steve Kerr did a magnificent job of inserting Andre Iguodala into the starting lineup. So, I know everybody wants to say, they’re a jump-shooting team. Listen, you can’t take anything away from them. If they beat these teams this year with everybody healthy, I’m gonna get on my knees and congratulate them. But I don’t think they can do it.

Wait, what?

Barkley is one of televisions best sports broadcasters and is certainly basketball’s most entertaining, but his vendetta against the modern NBA is well-documented, as is his willful ignorance of today’s analytical approach and style. This is just another example of that.

We might as well dissect this line-by-line.

Regardless of what y’all say, if you go back and actually look at the playoffs last year, they did not play one team that was healthy in the playoffs.

This is the commonly-joked-about “The Warriors got lucky” narrative. But is it all that true? Golden State still finished last year with 67 wins, comfortably the highest total in the NBA. Meanwhile, not everyone they played was hurt.

Mike Conley only missed Game 1 of the series against Memphis during the Western Conference semis (and when is Mike Conley ever healthy, anyway?). Once he returned, Memphis actually took a 2-1 series lead before the Warriors adjusted their defense and rocked the Griz for the final three games of the series, winning by an average of almost 17 points per game.

The Rockets, meanwhile, had everyone they needed against the Dubs in the Western Conference Finals, including Dwight Howard, who missed half of the last regular season with injuries, but still managed a fantastic postseason run. Houston still lost the series in five and was outscored by more than 10 points per game in the series.

Moving on, what’s next from Sir Charles?

Everybody acts like they got a championship shooting jump shots last year. They actually did not. They won because LeBron got tired because Steve Kerr did a magnificent job of inserting Andre Iguodala into the starting lineup.

Are Steve Kerr and Andre Iguodala no longer around? Heck, Iggy is the favorite for Sixth Man of the Year. Sure, the Cavs were banged up last year, and that played an obvious role, but after the Warriors placed the eventual Finals MVP into the first unit for Games 4, 5 and 6, they outscored the Cavaliers by 14 points a night. Fourteen! It wasn’t close. At all.

It’s not like the Warriors stopped shooting jumpers with Iggy in the first unit, either. Actually, Iguodala attempted more than seven 3s a game on his own during his trio of starts. And the Warriors attempted an average of 30 three-point attempts a night in those matchups, about in line with their regular-season average.

Plus, there are injuries every year. Is the Spurs’ title in 2014 illegitimate because Serge Ibaka got hurt before their the Western Conference Finals against the Thunder? Does the Heat’s 2012 run count for nothing because Derrick Rose got hurt in Round 1?

We could do this for a while:

So, I know everybody wants to say, they’re a jump-shooting team.

They are a jump-shooting team. And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with that — for plenty of reasons that bode well for spacing and efficiency, the simplest being that three is more than two. There’s also nothing strange about it.

All of last year’s final four teams (the Warriors, Cavaliers, Rockets and Hawks) ranked inside the top seven in three-point rate (the percentage of the team’s field-goal attempts that come from beyond the arc). And if you want to argue that Houston should’ve fallen to the Clippers, who held a 3-1 Western Conference Semifinals lead that they eventually choked away, well guess what: Then that stat still would’ve held true.

The 2015 Warriors were also far from the first jump-shooting team to win it all. The 2014 Spurs didn’t have a voluminous post-up threat. They haven’t thrown the ball into Tim Duncan and told him to do his work in 10 years, and San Antonio helped lay down the groundwork for what these Warriors have become.

The Heat shot jumpers a supreme amount. So did the 2011 Mavericks.

It’s not 1992 anymore. The game has new rules, and it’s changed because of it. The progression has been going on for years.

Time to bust out the knee pads, Chuck.

(Via TNT)

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