Commentary

How Charles Barkley would fare today

Translating the former star's stats to see how he would do in today's NBA

Updated: November 18, 2011, 1:35 PM ET
By Kevin Pelton | Basketball Prospectus
Charles BarkleyGetty ImagesCharles Barkley's tenacity and toughness is hard to quantify and equally hard to ignore.

In ESPN Insider's "What if they played now?" series, we'll translate the statistics of stars of the '80s and '90s to the present-day environment to give an idea how they might have stacked up to their new contemporaries. Each season's stat line is compared to league average at the time, then projected using the current NBA averages. Next up: the Round Mound of Rebound, Charles Barkley.

One of the many traditions NBA fans are missing during the lockout is hearing Charles Barkley hold court on the league on a weekly basis on "Inside the NBA." Often, the subtext of Barkley's comments is about how different modern players are from Barkley's generation. Statistics can't tell us how Barkley's toughness and tenacity would have helped him in the contemporary NBA, but they can give us an idea of how a player with Barkley-like skills would perform.

In this scenario, we'll imagine that Barkley just completed his first season with the Phoenix Suns. In real life, that 1992-93 campaign earned Barkley his lone MVP trophy and ended with a loss to the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Finals. Now let's see how it would stack up with Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Derrick Rose & Co.


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