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#pounditMonday, May 16, 2022

Charles Barkley had incredibly ironic criticism of today’s NBA players

Charles Barkley on the phone

Charles Barkley seemed to be lacking a bit of self-awareness with his latest criticism of the state of the NBA today.

Speaking Tuesday on TNT “Inside the NBA,” the retired basketball legend aired out a grievance that he has with the league’s three-point revolution.

“My problem is — I don’t want guys who can’t shooting shoot threes,” said Barkley. “That’s my problem with all the three-point shooting. I want Steph [Curry], Klay [Thompson], James [Harden], Kevin [Durant], I want all the great shooters. But the problem we got in the NBA — we got bums taking threes. That’s my problem with all the threes. Everybody can’t be a great three-point shooter. Please stop.”

Barkley’s criticism is a fair one on its face. It is now common to see centers, including those who only recently developed a three-point shot, attempting four or five triples a game. Three-point shooting for the NBA as a whole this season is at 34.8 percent (per Basketball Reference). That is the lowest mark the league has seen since the 2003-04 season, a era that was a golden age for defenses. Perhaps three-point efficiency is being weighed down by the sheer number of crummy shooters hoisting up treys around the NBA.

But the grand irony here is that Barkley was himself one of the worst volume three-point shooters in league history. Barkley attempted 2,020 triples and made a putrid 26.6 percent of them. That is even worse than current stars such as Anthony Davis (30.5 percent career from deep), Russell Westbrook (30.3 percent), and Giannis Antetokounmpo (28.7). In fact, Barkley has the single lowest three-point percentage of any NBA player with at least 1,000 career attempts (per StatMuse). He definitely fits the category of a “bum taking threes” and his head coaches were probably the ones who were pleading with him back in the day to “please stop.”

Barkley has made some legitimate points before about overreliance on the three-pointer. But this particular criticism rings a bit hollow coming from arguably the worst three-point shooter of all-time.

Photo: Norm Duve American Century Championship

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