It’s not quite to the point where one can say there are three sure things in life. Death and taxes will always be there, but it’s not entirely accurate to include Charles Barkley being wrong with his “gurruntees” as an analyst on Inside the NBA. But he’s been incorrect often enough for the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns to have legitimate concerns and a strong wish for Barkley to look the other direction.
Seriously, by Barkley’s low standards, he’s been on fire this postseason. But his latest guarantee might still be a warning shot for one of the teams getting set to tip off the NBA Finals on July 6.
Who did he pick? First, let’s take a peek at what Charles Barkley has gotten wrong over the years.
Even in a good postseason of predictions, Charles Barkley hasn’t even hit 50%
Charles Barkley has been on fire with his predictions lately, nailing his last five. All of those came in the Eastern Conference Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks. Chuck correctly picked the Bucks in Games 2, 3, 5, and 6. He also got the Hawks right as the winner of Game 4.
Of course, before that, he had gone a mere 5-of-20 on his non-guaranteed guarantees during the 2021 postseason. However, Barkley got a couple of his preseason predictions spot on when he said the Hawks, along with the Washington Wizards, would return to the playoffs this year. Washington won the second play-in game to grab the No. 8 seed. Atlanta was the fifth seed in the East before making a surprising run to the conference finals.
Still, even with his current hot streak, he’s only 10-of-25 for this postseason. Not to put too fine a point on it, but if he was gambling on those picks with the wrong people, he might want to protect his kneecaps. Just sayin’.
The Milwaukee Bucks receive the Chuck Hex in the 2021 NBA Finals
Charles Barkley was the leader of the Phoenix Suns the last time the franchise played in the NBA Finals. It was 1993, and Barkley had dethroned Michael Jordan as NBA MVP. Jordan exacted his revenge by leading the Chicago Bulls past the Suns in six games.
He made it clear that he wants to pull for Phoenix. But he’s going with the Milwaukee Bucks. Not that Barkley has been entirely enamored of them at times during the playoffs.
Maybe Barkley is playing 3-D chess when the rest of us are playing checkers. While he picked the Suns to beat the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round, Chuck liked both the Denver Nuggets and LA Clippers to knock off Phoenix in the subsequent rounds. The Suns are still standing in the NBA Finals.
Reverse psychology or blind luck? That is purely a matter of opinion at this point.
The simple truth is this: Charles Barkley is ‘turrible’ at predictions
That 40% clip Charles Barkley has achieved in this year’s playoffs is really like a career year for him. During last year’s playoffs, a graphic on a September broadcast of Inside the NBA before Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals told the sad tale.
In his career on TNT making predictions, Barkley was at that point correct a dismal 13.7% of the time. That’s even worse than his 26.6% career success rate from 3-point range. But much like with his predictions, piling up lots of frequent failure miles never deterred him from firing again. Barkley launched more than 2,000 3-point tries in his career.
The Milwaukee Bucks, meanwhile, can look at this in a few different ways. One, they can be worried they’ve been cursed by Charles Barkley’s endorsement. The guy is wrong more often than not. Two, the Bucks can use it as fuel, bulletin-board material. Sort of a “we’ll show him he’s … Ummm … right!” approach. Or three, Milwaukee can play the games and let the basketball sort itself out.
In the end, It’s the third option above that always wins.
Statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference.