Charles Barkley is at it again. And if you believe him, the Los Angeles Lakers aren't; that "aren't" referring to them contending for a title.
In an interview for the Dan LeBatard Show on 790 The Ticket in Miami, Barkley was asked whether he believed the Lakers have a chance to contend for the NBA title, to which he responded (via SportsRadioInterviews.com:
Clearly, Sir Charles wasn't planning on holding anything back—and he didn't.
When told that Vegas still had the Lakers as the third-most likely team to win the championship this year, Barkley took exception:
Mike D'Antoni is a very good coach, but not for that team. I joked last week on the show. They said 'There's help on the way.' And I said 'Yeah, there's help on the way in a 39-year-old aging point guard.
I like Steve Nash a lot, but when you look at those top four teams in the West you have Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Tony Parker and even Mike Conley. Steve Nash, he's 39, he couldn't guard those guys when he was 29.
And that's why I don't think things are going to get better for the Lakers.
Very. So was his notion that "it's going to be difficult for them to make the playoffs."
This is both nothing new and enlightening at the same time.
Barkley trashed the Lakers earlier in the season when they were running the Princeton offense Mike Brown attempted to implement. It was then he cited the need for the team to put the ball in Nash's hands.
Now that the ball is in Nash's hands, however, Barkley still isn't happy:
When I broadcast the game two weeks ago, Steve Kerr said I was talking to the Lakers before the game and Kobe said he’s not sure what team they are going to get night after night. I said they are going to get an old, slow team every night. I just think Kobe got around to TiVoing the games and just got around to watching it. If he had to watch the show, I think three weeks ago when I broadcast the game against the Knicks, I said, ‘Man these Lakers … are old and slow on television. They are even older and slower in person.’
At this point, it's become no secret that Barkley has absolutely no faith in the Lakers. He's ridiculed their dynamic since Day 1, and held the same tune for nearly half of the season.
And yet, those are conflicts Barkley neglects to address. Instead, he remains inconsistent in his analysis.
He was so sure two months ago that putting the ball in Nash's hands was the solution, and now he's abidingly certain that Nash is a part of the problem.
Barkley actually believes the entire roster is the problem. If he wasn't griping about their age, he was referring to Dwight Howard's All-Star selection a "travesty."
I'm all for perpetuating the ambiguity that Los Angeles is currently enshrouded in. The Lakers, in all their bordering on nonexistent glory, have earned it.
But Barkley's sentiments are seemingly laced with personal vendetta-esque intentions.
Had he deemed the Lakers an outdated aggregation at the start of the season, I could see some merit in his words. I could even find some value in his exact words if they came from someone else.
Yet they didn't.
They came from Barkley, who has teetered in his understanding of Los Angeles and all its supposed shortcomings.
No, as currently constructed—void of depth—no one should be sold on the Lakers as legitimate contenders, Vegas included.
After listening to Barkley, though, and all the shallow commentary he could bear to muster up, that very notion still holds true.
But not because of anything he said.
*All stats in this article are accurate as of January 3, 2013.