Charles Barkley is not a fan of analytics. Anyone surprised? The Hall-of-Famer recently sounded off during an interview on the use of them in professional sports, and specifically in the NBA.
“I have a problem with the way the Sixers are running their organization right now. Listen, Howard, you know I don’t believe in that analytical crap. 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. The guy (Hinkie), he came from Houston. When did Houston get good? 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.”
I partially agree with these comments Barkley made to CBS Philly on Tuesday morning. There’s not enough data yet on the use of analytics in sports yet to know if it’s truly an effective way to build a team. I believe there are valuable things to be learned from analyzing statistics and other factors, but when you get right down to it, players still have to play. There’s just no substitute for raw talent and ability.
Over time I expect teams to find a balance between acquiring players because of sheer ability and statistical data. But as far as the game of basketball is concerned, you can either ball, or you can’t. It is a thinking man’s game, but talent will always override smarts.