“I always tell people, give me a dumb guy that can really play,” Barkley said Tuesday on CBS Radio. “Don’t give me no smart guy.”
The context of that quote was a discussion about statistical analytics, which Barkley views as window dressing.
The Philadelphia 76ers, who drafted Barkley, recently hired Sam Hinkie, who built his resume in Houston under Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who is basically Bill Brasky for the basketball analytics crowd.
“When did Houston get good?” Barkley asked, rhetorically. “When they went out and paid James Harden all that money and (Omer) Asik, and now they went out and got Dwight Howard. That’s got nothing to do with analytics, that’s got to do with paying really good players to come to town.”
That’s a little bit of an oversimplification about how Houston’s roster was assembled. Morey’s idea all along has been to use his extensive and secret (magical) analytical machine to stockpile assets that could, in theory, keep the team competitive until the time came to flip those assets for a superstar.
The whole idea was to build a contending team without ever enduring the traditional “stink bad enough to get the No. 1 pick” seasons.
The Rockets appear to have one of the strongest rosters in the Western Conference right now and some see this as a manifestation of Morey’s brilliance. Others, like Barkley, see a team writing big checks like everybody else.
What, exactly, that has to do with the intelligence of individual players is less clear, but Barkley sees some kind of a connection.
“You know I don’t believe in that analytical crap,” Barkley said. “If LeBron James couldn’t spell cat, I want him on my team. I always tell people, give me a dumb guy that can really play. Don’t give me no smart guy.”