Rick Barry Rumors
Rick Barry, the NBA Hall-of-Famer who is coach of the BIG3’s Ball Hogs, put on mirrored sunglasses before announcing the first pick. “OK, brothers, here we go,’’ he said, drawing laughter in a room where he was one of the few white men. Can you imagine Bill Belichick adjusting his shades before announcing the New England Patriots pick in this year’s draft?
Peter Vecsey: Not even when splendiferous Rick Barry headlined the Nets for two seasons. For whatever it’s worth, I often testify on Barry’s behalf he was every bit as good as Larry Bird, who happens to be my favorite player of all time, something I’ve told him to his face. “I was better,” Barry recently reacted when an autograph seeker who expressed the same opinion to Rick at February’s All Star Weekend’s Legend’s Lunch. “Larry couldn’t guard me.”
Rick Barry still has come bragging rights over Curry with free-throw shooting, though. Though Curry (90.3) has a lead over Barry (89.6) in all-time free-throw shooting percentage, Curry fell short this season in eclipsing Barry’s franchise record for most consecutive free-throws made (60) after converting on his first 52 attempts. “That’s the only part of the game you can be selfish and help your team. Free throws are key,” Barry said. “You win a lot of games if you make your free throws. That’s why the Warriors are so dangerous. They’re an indefensible team when their guys are on. They have three players who can shoot the three, drive to the basket and are great free-throw shooters. How do you shut that down? You can’t. You just can’t.”
Tell the Warriors’ legend that Golden State (44-14) no longer remains the favorites to win their third NBA championship in four years after going 4-4 before the All-Star break and falling a half game behind the Houston Rockets (44-13) for the Western Conference’s top seed. “How can you predict now? It’s the All-Star break,” Barry told Bay Area News Group. “You can do some predictions in April. Now you have some ideas on who might win and who might not win. But the reality is if the Warriors play their best basketball offensively and defensively in a seven-game series, nobody is going to beat them. It’s that simple. Nobody is as good as they are when they are playing their best.”
Tell him the Warriors are not playing at their best because they feel the fatigue stemmed from appearing in three consecutive NBA Finals. Or that the Warriors’ ailments simply stem from needing to recharge during the NBA All-Star break. “It’ll be a great opportunity to go ahead and reenergize a little bit and get a little bit of time off. But I still find it difficult to hear how they’re tired. I’m hearing how guys are tired. Tired of what?” Barry asked incredulously. “They don’t play. The most that anybody plays is 36 freaking minutes. They travel on charter planes. I listen to all this stuff and I’m thinking, ‘Oh my god. These guys would probably be crying if they had to do what we had to do.’ It doesn’t make any freaking sense. How can you be tired playing 36 minutes a game under the circumstances they play with staying in beautiful hotels, getting fed right, getting a dietician and being on charter planes and all of the other stuff they have? I don’t even like to hear it. It’s ridiculous.”