Hall of Famer Charles Barkley isn’t one to shy away from speaking his mind on any topic. With that has come him making statements that don’t necessarily rub players the right way, which has come in the direction of LA Lakers star LeBron James. That is once again the case with Barkley voicing a stance that will undoubtedly not make James happy.
NBA 2020 playoff picture set
Following the initial suspension of the 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus, there wasn’t clarity if there would be any more basketball this year.
The NBA has made it work with the Orlando Bubble situation that has led to the playoff picture being set in place. The Lakers have pushed their way toward the top spot in the Western Conference postseason seeding. The conference is stacked with viable opponents across the board with many talented teams with high aspirations.
With that in mind, Hall of Famer Charles Barkley has made a prediction that would certainly go against what LeBron James believes hopes will happen.
Charles Barkley picks Trail Blazers to upset Lakers
Throughout his career as an analyst for TNT on “Inside the NBA,” Charles Barkley hasn’t been one to bite his tongue on predictions.
With the Portland Trail Blazers pushing their way to the playoffs, Barkley has become a bit bullish in his support of their postseason hopes. That led to the Hall of Famer to voice on Tuesday afternoon that he believes Portland will upset LA in the first round of the playoffs.
“The only way the Lakers are gonna beat Portland is if LeBron goes crazy because they’re gonna really miss Trevor Ariza. With that being said, I’m still going with the Portland Trailblazers.”
That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as Barkley recently voiced that he believes the Trail Blazers have enough to reach the Western Conference Finals. He stated that well ahead of them garnering the eighth seed in the playoffs, which he remains high on their deep roster led by Damian Lillard.
There has been little doubt about the Trail Blazers’ chances against the Lakers, who have struggled in the Orlando Bubble since the season restarted. All that only further provides more fuel to LeBron James and the Lakers to prove they can contend for an NBA title by getting past the Trail Blazers.
Lakers headed for tough series against Trail Blazers
Regardless of what Charles Barkley has to say about the Trail Blazers’ chances against the Lakers, it’s going to be tough.
Aside from CJ McCollum lingering back injury, Portland is completely healthy with the roster that came to the Orlando Bubble. Fueled by the stellar play from star point guard Damian Lillard, the Trail Blazers certainly don’t look like a team that is scrapping their way into the playoffs.
Meanwhile, the concern around the Lakers remains on their offensive struggles.. Their offensive numbers were far below their standards in the eight-game regular season before the playoffs. They finished last with 106.4 points per game, 19th with a 43.8% field goal percentage, and last with a 29.8% three-point percentage.
Before the Orlando Bubble, they led the league in field goal percentage. LA hasn’t played anywhere near the team that he worked their way toward the top of the West. They were hitting their gears before the season was suspended, which saw them beating the Milwaukee Bucks and LA Clippers.
The Lakers certainly have the talent led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis along with a veteran-laden roster. However, it will hinge on them to put these offensive issues behind them to advance to the second round of the playoffs. Portland is going to present a difficult first-round challenge, but LA is in the driver’s seat to guide themselves to a deep postseason run toward possibly an NBA title.