Charles Barkley

Worst Stretch Four Ever?

Curtis M. Harris

On the heels of praising Terry Mills for furthering the Stretch Four position, we now turn to the unseemly underbelly of this revolution.

Players like Charles Barkley gave people like Doug Collins reason to pause the changes afoot…

Never has someone with so much low-post skill and so little outside shooting prowess chucked up so many three-pointers.

Barkley’s numbers are truly horrific.

Sir Charles has the 6th-worst career 3P% among players with a minimum of 500 three-point attempts. In a sea of guards, only Barkley and Jared Sullinger rise to this sorry occasion. Of course, Barkley shot 58.1% on two-pointers in his career, while Sullinger was only at 47.6%, thus making his shooting decisions all the more ridiculous.

A prime example of Barkley being too three-point happy was on December 2, 1996.

In a game versus the Toronto Raptors, Barkley scored 30 points and finished 11-23 overall from the field. On two-point FGAs he was a sterling 9-12. On three-point attempts he was a miserable 2-11. Barkley’s Houston Rockets lost the game 100-89.

Such awful exhibitions of three-point shooting took their toll.

For five-straight seasons (1987-1991) Barkley led the NBA in two-point shooting percentage. His cumulative 2P% was .631. Yet, he never led the NBA in overall FG%.


Cuz he shot too many damn threes.

Every single one of those five seasons, Barkley would have been the FG% champ if he had just cut out the threes. And for his career, Barkley is the NBA’s 8th-best shooter from two-point range. Yet in overall FG% he drops down to 32nd cuz of his threes.

Lastly, this trigger happy downtown shooting was absolutely bad for his teams.

From 1986 to 1992, Barkley finished either first or second on the Philadelphia 76ers in 3PAs each season. The situation was most hilarious in 1989 when he and Hersey Hawkins finished virtually tied in 3PAs but Hawkins doubled up his three-point accuracy.

Although it moderated somewhat in following years, this state of affairs of Barkley eating away at Hawkins’s rightful three-point bounty would nonetheless continue:

When Barkley was traded from Philadelphia to Phoenix in the summer of 1992, he continued snatching food off other folks’ plates. Mercifully, the Suns had sharp-shooters like Danny Ainge, Dan Majerle, and (later) Wesley Person. Didn’t stop Chuck from reliably chucking, though. He finished third on the team every year in 3PAs, despite maintaining a bad 3P%, even after the NBA shortened the line for the 1993-94 season.

Barkley’s fantasies of being a Stretch Four, as shown above with the 2-11 shooting performance, didn’t wane when he was traded yet again to the Houston Rockets in the summer of 1996. This infatuation somehow reached its apex with Houston despite them having more three-point shooting than any team Barkley had ever played for.

Yeah, Houston didn’t need Barkley camping out taking threes. Plenty of marksmanship to make due with Elie, Maloney, and company.

Fortunately, Barkley’s Stretch Four fever finally broke. After a career-high 3.9 3PAs in the 1996-97 campaign, Barkley for 1997-98 only attempted 1.2, the lowest average since his sophomore season way back in 1986.

For the rest of his career, Barkley was satisfied with a 0.8 3PAs per game albeit on a .196 shooting clip. Still absolutely terrible and the Stretch Four nightmare finally ended when Barkley retired in 2000.

So, the next time you hear Charles Barkley complaining about some big man not posting up enough, just remember this here post.


or not if you’re Barkley from downtown

Unsolved ProHoopsMysteries

Who has carried on Barkley’s legacy of horrific downtown shooting by a “Stretch Four”?

How did Hersey Hawkins not stage an intervention with Barkley?