TNT’s Charles Barkley weighed in on the state of the NBA. Here is his conversation with Dan:
DP: Do you agree with Tracy McGrady that Steph Curry winning unanimous means the NBA is watered down right now?
CB: Well, the NBA is watered down. The NBA is the worst I’ve ever seen it. I think we’ve got to address with the kids coming to the NBA after one year. The NBA is definitely watered down. I’ve been saying that for the last two or three years. The NBA is the worst I’ve ever seen it. And I think it has to do with all these kids we’re drafting out of high school, we started with drafting kids out of high school. And now we’re drafting kids after one year of college and it drives me crazy. Because they have potential but they have no idea how to play basketball. So yeah, I think Tracy has a great point, something I’ve been saying for the last few years. The NBA is the worst I’ve ever seen it.
DP: I have no problem with him being unanimous. And the point I’ve made about back when you won the MVP in 1993 when [Michael] Jordan won his MVPs, or Karl Malone won his. The number of guys that are among the top 50 of all time who were in the balloting there, in the voting is incredible. I don’t know if Kahwi Leonard is a top 50 player of all time. I don’t know if these other guys who are up there Russell Westbrook if he’s going to be one of the top 50 players. But you had David Robinson, and [Patrick] Ewing, and Hakeem [Olajuwon] and Michael [Jordan], [Larry] Bird, Magic [Johnson]. I mean these are among the top 25 players of all time. So it was tough to win an MVP certainly unanimous. Even when Jordan won 72 games that year.
CB: If you look at all the guys you just named all those guys had one thing in common, they stayed in college at least a minimum of three years. Look at Steph [Curry] and Kawhi [Leonard] they both stayed in college x amount of years. I know everyone’s trying to get paid but we have watered down our product. You know you look at the last couple rookie classes we’ve had they’ve all been guys that have only stayed for one year. And they all have one thing in common, they’re not that very good. You know we’re drafting young guys trying to make them NBA players and they just can’t play. They might be a good player in four or five years. The problem I have with the whole thing is it screws up the draft because if my team is bad I don’t want a guy who’s going to be good in five or six years. I want a guy who’s going to help my team. I don’t think it’s fair to the fans. Like if my team sucks I don’t want a guy who might be good in five years that doesn’t help me, I want immediate help. That’s why if you actually look at the positioning everyone’s been bad in the draft and they’re still bad. They might be good in five years but they’re not getting immediate help and that’s what the draft is designed for.