Charles Barkley has unconventional views about a lot of things, so it wasn't a surprise when he completely rubbished the effectiveness of analytics in the NBA. What's surprising is that the his other TNT pals Shaquille O'Neil and Kenny Smith joined him in rejecting the widespread notion that analytics and numbers matter a lot in constructing a winning team.
The whole thing started when Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey reacted on Twitter to Chuck's statement that the Rockets are the worst defensive team in the NBA even though statistics show that they're the fifth-best.
Best part of being at a TNT game live is it is easy to avoid Charles spewing misinformed biased vitriol disguised as entertainment— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) February 11, 2015
The tweet was brought up on Tuesday night's edition of Inside The NBA and, as expected, Barkley didn't hold back in bashing the number game. He unleashed a full-fledged attack not just on sports data analytics, but also on those who propagate it, saying it's invented by "a bunch of guys who ain't never played the game [and] they never got the girls in high school."
Kenny "The Jet" Smith and Shaq chimed in too, both giving examples of why talent matters and number studies don't.
While Barkley and the rest of the TNT crew do put together a fun show, their take on the subject is completely idiotic. It's common knowledge that most front offices that are good at their job use analytics to build winning teams. It's true that making it all about numbers isn't the right approach either, but saying that "analytics is crap" is just ridiculous.
Barkley is a famous compulsive gambler and has admittedly lost millions and millions betting games or playing blackjack. His complete disregard for numbers explains why.