NEW YORK -- TNT basketball analyst Charles Barkley swears he has nothing against Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.
Then he tells me exactly what annoys him about Daryl Morey.
“I have nothing against Daryl Morey,” Barkley told SI.com Thursday night. “But what annoys me about Daryl Morey is they [the Rockets] go out and get James Harden. Then, they go get Dwight Howard. They go get Trevor Arizia. They go after Carmelo Anthony. They go after Chris Bosh. How is that analytics, just getting better players? Just explain it to me. Seriously. I am willing to deal with common sense. I mean, come on. They are just bringing in better players. How is that analytical?”
The Barkley-Morey skirmish has been all the rage among NBA writers the last couple of days. The TNT analyst has frequently criticized the Rockets on defense, and Morey responded on Tuesday night, first by re-tweeting someone on Twitter who called Barkley “a dunce” and followed with a tweet of his own. Tweeted Morey: “Best part of being at a TNT game live is it is easy to avoid Charles spewing misinformed biased vitriol disguised as entertainment.”
Barkley responded to Morey directly on Tuesday night’s Inside The NBA postgame edition with a long screed against the Rockets GM and the basketball analytics crowd, where Morey is a standard bearer. Ben Golliver chronicled the festivities here for SI.com. Amid all this testosterone, worth noting is this piece by Houston Chronicle writer Jonathan Feigen, who pointed out that Rockets management has contended that Inside The NBA has been unfair to them over the past two seasons, since Howard signed as a free agent (Shaquille O’Neal has not been shy about his criticism of Howard.).
So on Thursday night, after filming the first segment of his studio show before a live audience at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan, Barkley had a quick chat with SI.com about his comments, which produced a lot of social media vitriol and thoughts from the analytics community.
Not surprisingly, Barkley wasn’t backing down, and said he’s heard from supporters.
“I think more people agree with me who know basketball than disagree,” Barkley said. “I’ve had at least four or five NBA coaches call me loving what I said. I saw Mark Cuban said something. I also saw a couple of coaches say analytics are a small part of it but a big thing is what Charles said is correct.”
“People like for Charles to be honest unless he says something different from them,” Barkley continued. “People like you as long as you agree with them. But that doesn’t bother me.”
This won’t be the last of this debate. In a fortuitous bit of scheduling, Barkley is scheduled to be on a panel Friday at the 16th annual NBA All-Star Technology Summit.
The title of the panel?
The Evolution of Basketball Analytics.