Charles Barkley is paid to be cantankerous. You know that if you've ever watched an episode of Inside the NBA on TNT. But sometimes he can veer off into the weeds to defend his old-school basketball hot takes.
Perfect example: This Friday interview with Dime, where he insists that reigning MVP Stephen Curry is nothing more than a great shooter. Adding insult to injury, Barkley drags Wizards guard John Wall into the conversation to make his point.
The interview began with a question about whether Curry is as unstoppable as Shaquille O'Neal (Barkley's colleague on Inside) was in the early 1990s.
You could almost feel Barkley rolling his eyes as he answered. "He’s just a great shooter. It’s a totally different animal."
The interviewers started pressing Barkley about the rest of Curry's game.
"No. He’s not more than a shooter. He’s just a great shooter," Barkley continued. "He’s not a great playmaker. He’s just a great shooter."
O'Neal, he said, was an unstoppable force that the league has never seen before or since. When asked if players in today's NBA look at Curry the same way, Barkley didn't pull any punches.
"No, they don’t. ‘Cause he played last week against John Wall and scored 51 and gave up 41. And most people think that John Wall had a better game, because Steph had 10 turnovers and John Wall had 41 and 15 assists."
Barkley is referring to the February 3 game between the Wizards and Warriors in which the Golden State point guard scored 51 points, the highest ever by a visiting player at Verizon Center. The other two players who dropped 51 in the Phone Booth? Michael Jordan and Gilbert Arenas.
But he's wrong on the specific numbers he's citing. Curry actually finished with 7 turnovers, not 10. And Wall had 10 assists, not 15.
It's true that Curry hasn't been the primary assist man for Golden State this season as forward Draymond Green has grown into a capable distributor. But according the NBA.com player tracking data, Curry still assists on 31% of his teammates field goals, so knocking him as a playmaker doesn't make a lot of sense.
Then again, neither did Barkley's insistence that a "jump-shooting team" like the Warriors couldn't win an NBA title -- something Sir Charles wouldn't know much about.