The Last Dance documentary has shined the light on a lot of under celebrated players from the 90’s. Most notably in episode six they talked about the Phoenix Suns and Charles Barkley. Today’s generation see Barkley as the outspoken analyst on TNT and other media outlets but it is very noticeably forgotten that the Round Mound of Rebound was actually one of the best NBA players not only of the 90’s but in the history of the game.
Recently Barkley has been in a war of words with fellow outspoken power forward Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors. Green has cited that Barkley’s inability to win a championship puts him below the level of the Warriors star. I am a believer in championships cementing the legacy of great players. It is downright laughable for Green to believe that his legacy in the league will ever match Charles Barkley. Green is a key cog in the machine the Golden State Warriors have built but by no means is he in the league of the Hall of Famer. Barkley was a cornerstone of two different franchises. The Sixers of the late 80’s and the Suns of the 90’s success was primarily built on the back of Barkley.
Who had even heard of the Phoenix Suns before Barkley was traded there and led them to a losing effort against the prime Michael Jordan Bulls of the 90’s. The Suns had made it to one other finals in the 1975-1976 season and to this day haven’t made it since the time of Barkley and company. It wasn’t until the Steve Nash and Amare Stoudamire Suns of the mid 2000’s that Phoenix was able to make any impact in the league. Barkley is unquestionably the face of the entire organization and unless Devin Booker gets some help he will be the face for years to come.
I am not here to knock Draymond Green. He is the perfect example of the progression of the point-forward position in today’s NBA. Barkley however was carrying teams with lesser talent for years. No matter who was on the court Barkley found success. His career PER was 24.6 and destroyed Green who hasn’t had a season PER above 19. We have seen what happens when Green becomes the focal point of a team. He is not the scorer, rebounder or leader that Barkley was. Draymond Green is an overachiever in the NBA. He has done great things in the league, his defense is better than Barkleys. That is the lone aspect about his game that you can argue is better. That is it. Someone tell me something that he does better. It is actually very funny that Drayond believes that he is on the level of an NBA hall of famer. Imagine if Green didn’t play along with some of the best players in the entire league. Would he even be talked about?
Barkley played with some talent in his prime. Kevin Johnson was very good for a small amount of time. Dan Majerle was a three time all star, but he was never a premium level player. Who did he play with on the level of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson or Kevin Durant? Green could never take a team as far as Barkley did. He could never be the #1 option.