Charles Barkley is one of the greatest players to ever grace the NBA. His post-playing career as an NBA analyst has been a bit different. Like Shaq, he exists as a former pro that seems oddly negative on the "modern game." And while looking up Charles Barkley historical career stats, I found one that was just too funny not to share.
In the 1996 and 1997 NBA seasons, the NBA shortened the three-point line to be a uniform 22 feet all around. Understandably this had an impact on how many threes teams took and how well they shot. In the 1996-1997 NBA season, Charles Barkley took a career high in three-point attempts. Here's how that looked.
- Charles Barkley 1996-1997: 3.9 Three Pointers Attempted per Game, 28.3% Three-Point Shooting Efficiency
And here's how Marcus Smart, one of the notoriously worst shooters in the NBA looked last season
- Marcus Smart 2016-2017: 4.2 Three Pointers Attempted per Game, 28.3% Three-Point Shooting Efficiency
And as we're fans of comparing to average around here, in 1996-1997 the average three-point shooting efficiency in the NBA was 36%. In 2016-2017, it was 35.8%. In short, with "training wheels," Charles Barkley shot as well as pretty much one of the worst scorers in the modern NBA from three.
A big part of sports is that the games evolve and things change. Players in the past paved the way for players in the future. The attitude that things used to be better and are now ruined is one that irks me both in the sports world and out of it. And it's always fun to look back at the actual past and see it doesn't always align with distorted memories. And in this case, Charles Barkley's contempt for the importance of the three in the modern NBA becomes a little too clear. Luckily, there's more to the game than outside shooting, right?