Refreshing candor and a Hall of Fame resume are two reasons why I find myself agreeing with analysis from TNT’s Charles Barkley nine times out of 10. His recent comments about the revitalized Brooklyn Nets, however, provided an example of that rare instance where I couldn’t help but shake my head in protest after learning of what he said.
“The Nets stink, man,” said Barkley during a conference call the other day. “They lost their best player in Brook Lopez, Deron Williams has been inconsistent, they’re beating up on a bunch of ugly chicks in the Eastern Conference. Don’t act like they’ve got a good team. Stop it.”
The Nets may still be under .500 at 22-26, but earning 12 wins in their last 17 games, mostly as a result of solid defense efforts, has proven that they can still be a fairly respectable team once the season is said and done. In all likelihood they won’t be a title contender, but still it’s respectable in their own right, especially considering the dreadful start they got off to.
Plus, the last time I checked, the Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs – although they were missing their key components that night – don’t play in the East. One team that does, the 25-23 Atlanta Hawks who sit fourth in the conference, have lost to the Nets twice during this span. Wins like that are nothing to be sneezed at like Barkley did.
He also had more to add. “I don’t see Brooklyn beating Washington,” he said. “I don’t see them beating Toronto, to be honest with you.”
While the Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards have given the Nets some problems this season, these aren’t elite teams that Brooklyn would have no chance against in a series without Brook Lopez. In reality, matchups against those opponents would be pick ‘em series. The differences in ability aren’t too distinct. Toronto is currently 26-24, while Washington sits at 24-25.
Knowing Barkley’s style, he’d probably respond to this by claiming that I “don’t know anything about basketball.” But that’d be fine. It’s just part of his charm.