Barkley believes Dame, Mitchell should start ASG over Steph

Donovan Mitchell guarding Steph Curry

Another day, another Charles Barkley slight directed at Steph Curry and the Warriors.

Moments after Curry was named to his seventh NBA All-Star Game on Thursday, Barkley made his case for the two guards who should have been selected as starters in the Western Conference over the Warriors' star and Dallas Mavericks phenom Luka Doncic.

"There’s no right or wrong answer, but I thought [Damian] Lillard and Donovan Mitchell, to me, (should have been All-Star starters)," Barkley said on TNT's pregame show before the Toronto Raptors took on the Milwaukee Bucks. "When you have the best record in basketball, that says a lot. They have these stupid arguments about who gets MVP every year. The MVP has never went to the best player. It always went to who was the best player on the best team. Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal should have won three or four, but the other guys played better that season.

"Donovan Mitchell should be rewarded, in my opinion. No disrespect to anybody. But this kid has been the best player on the best team in the NBA and it’s unfortunate he’s not starting."

There's no disagreeing with Barkley on the fact that Lillard and Mitchell are having incredible seasons and their respective teams, the Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz, are playing better than the Warriors and Mavericks at the moment. Utah has the best overall record (24-5) in the NBA through Thursday. Portland has won six games in a row and sits in fourth place in the West with an 18-10 record.


The Warriors (16-13) are three games over .500 for the first time this season, and the Mavericks have underperformed, to the tune of a 13-15 record, good for 10th place in the West.

But the All-Star Game isn't a reward for team success. It's about who the fans want to see and the players that are having the best statistical seasons.

To that end, Curry is one of the most popular players in the NBA right now and his numbers are better than those of Lillard, Mitchell and Doncic. In fact, there are few, if any, players putting up better numbers than Curry this year.

Comparing Curry, Doncic, Lillard and Mitchell this season, the two-time NBA MVP is leading the four players in field goal percentage, 3-point percentage, effective field goal percentage, free throw percentage, steals per game and points per game.

Among the four players, Curry trails Doncic in rebounds per game and is third behind Doncic and Lillard in assists per game.

Statistically speaking, Curry is having the best season of the four Western Conference guards. He's averaging 30.0 points on 49.2 percent shooting from the field and 42.5 percent shooting from 3-point range.

But more than stats, the biggest determinant in All-Star Game starters is the fan vote (50 percent of the formula), and Curry trounced all other West guards, finishing with 5,481,033 votes. Doncic finished a distant second with 3,335,042 votes.

Curry also finished first in voting among players and voting by media members, each component making up 25 percent of the final results.

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So while Barkley might want to reward Lillard and Mitchell for team success, the fans, the players and the media all disagree with him.

Curry rightfully was selected as an All-Star Game starter for the seventh time in his career.

Sorry, Chuck, but you're on the wrong side of this argument again.

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