By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Even though he believes Lebron James is the best basketball player on the planet, Charles Barkley is picking the Spurs in this year’s NBA Finals.
“LeBron James could win four games, which he did, but I don’t think they’ll let him do that against the Spurs,” Barkley told 94WIP’s Anthony Gargano and Glen Macnow on Wednesday. Much was made of the lack of help James got from Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and others during their seven game series win over the Pacers.
“I think the Spurs are too smart. I think the Spurs won’t turn the ball over as near as much as the Pacers did, and I got the Spurs winning this series. But LeBron, he’s like having a nuclear weapon. He could go off four games in a row. Like I said, I think the Spurs are too good to let that happen. I think they would do something—they would take the ball out of his hands because those guys are still going to be small down low. Tim Duncan is gonna play well, [Tiago] Splitter is gonna play well,” Barkley said.
Though the Heat are about a 2-1 favorite to win the series, it’s certainly not outlandish to pick the Spurs, a team who has won four NBA titles during Tim Duncan’s career. However, one of the players he sees as an x-factor is sort of shocking, the barely-used Tracy McGrady, who signed with the team just before the playoffs started after they released Stephen Jackson. McGrady has appeared in only four playoff games this year, playing 17 minutes, missing all four shots he’s taken without scoring a point.
“I got a surprise for you, I think Tracy McGrady is going to have a hand in this series. Just studying the match-ups, I don’t know how much he got in the tank, but I think he’s got, well, first of all nobody can stop LeBron. Nobody can stop LeBron, but after Kawhi Leonard they don’t have anybody on their team who is big enough height wise, and thick enough physically, to give him any troubles. But listen, this guy [McGrady], he’s 6’9″, 6’10”, he’s strong enough physically. I haven’t seen him play in the playoffs, but he’s the only other guy on that bench—nobody can stop LeBron, but he can make him work hard.”
Barkley also reiterated his desire to run an NBA team, a sentiment he has expressed often over the last year or so.
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