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Charles Barkley: 'I might have to apologize to the Timberwolves'

Sir Charles has acknowledged that he might be wrong about Minnesota.
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After years of calling the Timberwolves the dumbest team in the NBA and mocking Minnesota for going against the grain by starting two 7-footers, Charles Barkley might be reconsidering his harsh opinion. 

"I might have to apologize to the Timberwolves. I might have to," Barkley said Monday night on NBA on TNT, one day after Minnesota's convincing victory over the red-hot Los Angeles Clippers, who are Barkley's pick to represent the West in the NBA Finals. 

Key word: Might. Barkley stopped short of apologizing, though he did credit Minnesota for their 28-11 start to the season and left the door open for the possibility that he might be wrong about them. 

What's holding Barkley back from flat out apologizing? He still doesn't believe the Timberwolves can thrive in the postseason if they get matched up with a smaller, offensively-gifted opponent. 

"Those two big guys, if they get into a 3-point shooting contest with one of these smaller teams, those big guys can't guard out on the floor. I think that's their only weakness," Barkley said. 

"They're great defensively around the basket and things like that, but if they play against the Mavericks, Rudy and Karl, they don't dominate enough on the offensive end for me to try to guard the perimeter of a team like the Mavs. Somebody like that. And listen, they're doing great. If I'm wrong, I don't mind being wrong. But if they play a 3-point shooting contest against a really good team and you got Karl and Rudy out on the floor, they're going to struggle."

Can we put Barkley's theory to the test? Well, Minnesota's 11 losses are to the Raptors, Hawks, Suns, Kings, Pelicans (twice), 76ers, Thunder, Knicks, Mavericks and Celtics. Here's where those ten teams rank in 3-point makes per game and 3-point shooting percentage this season. 

  • Celtics: 1st | 8th
  • Mavericks: 2nd | 12th
  • Kings: 3rd | 14th
  • Hawks: 7th | 16th
  • Thunder: 11th | 2nd
  • Knicks: 12th | 10th
  • 76ers: 21st | 13th
  • Pelicans: 22nd | 4th
  • Suns: 25th | 11th
  • Raptors: 26th | 21st

All of them except the 76ers and Raptors are either top 11 in the league in 3-point makes per game or 3-point shooting percentage, so Sir Charles might be on to something. Minnesota, however, is 20th in makes per game and sixth in 3-point shooting percentage (38.3%), so it's not like they're a slouch in that department. 

The Timberwolves play their first game on TNT this season Thursday against Memphis. The 9 p.m. start time in Minneapolis will give fans plenty of time to tune in and to see what's on Barkley's mind. 

Charles Barkley

Jun 4, 2023; Denver, CO, USA; TNT sports analyst Charles Barkley speaks before game two between the Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets in the 2023 NBA Finals at Ball Arena.