Charles Barkley enjoys sharing his opinions with the public at large; sometimes regarding topics he has little expertise in. But Olympic basketball? That’s in his wheelhouse, and he had some constructive criticism for Team USA this week.
“It’s not a good team to put together,” Barkley told Sports360AZ.com (via SI.com). “If you take away (Los Angeles Clippers center) DeAndre Jordan, every guy on that team is a ball-dominant guy. You see them playing a lot of one-on-one basketball.”
Led by 2013-2014 NBA MVP Kevin Durant, Team USA has a roster full of excellent players that has underwhelmed while going undefeated, a contradiction that was set in motion by Barkley’s “Dream Team” at the 1992 Olympics, which set a high — and, most would argue, impossible — standard for American basketball.
Barkley sees the current squad as talented, but imbalanced.
“Kyle Lowry, who is a hell of a player, he wants to score. Kyrie [Irving] wants to score. Kevin [Durant] wants to score. DeMar [DeRozan] wants to score,” Barkley said. “So, I think they have been really stagnant offensively. When they put that team together in the future, they have to realize we can’t have just really, really great offensive players.”
Team USA is 6-0 in Olympic play this summer, and will face Spain in the semifinal round on Friday afternoon.
Barkley is often considered one of the greatest players of the modern NBA era. Aside from his work in the Olympics — two gold medals — he made 11 All-Star teams after leaving Auburn in 1984.
In 1993, he won the league MVP award after a career-best season, and then starred in one of the league’s most scintillating championship series when his Phoenix Suns fell to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls in the NBA Finals.