Charles Barkley still does not think the Warriors will complete a three-peat.
Barkley, an 11-time All-Star who currently works as an analyst for TNT, picked Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors to beat the Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals.
“To answer your question, I’m taking the Toronto Raptors,” Barkley said Saturday on “Inside the NBA.”
“There’s no player in the NBA I’d rather have than Kawhi Leonard. He’s a drama-free superstar. … He just wants to win, and there’s never any drama. What’s going be interesting is he’s got a long time to get healthy. They don’t play until Thursday.”
The Inside crew shares their NBA Finals predictions. 👀
Who are you picking? pic.twitter.com/9t6KqWK5Ew
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 26, 2019
The Raptors dropped the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals against the Bucks but rebounded with four straight wins to advance to the finals. Leonard was phenomenal for Toronto in the series as he averaged 29.8 points and 9.5 rebounds over the six games.
“I just want to win,” Leonard told reporters Saturday. “I don’t care about being the best player. I want to be the best team. I’ve always said that. … It’s turning out well now. We’re in the finals, and we’re not done yet.”
Barkley previously said he thought Milwaukee would win the title.
The Warriors, meanwhile, swept the Trail Blazers in the Western Conference finals. But, star Kevin Durant remains sidelined with a calf injury and he is not expected to be ready for Game 1 against Toronto.
“Anybody who thinks (the Warriors) are going to win a world championship without Kevin Durant, don’t know anything about basketball,” Barkley said last week on ESPN’s “Get Up!”
“Steph (Curry) and Klay Thompson have been fantastic but listen — the Warriors are not going to win the championship without KD.”
Golden State has won two straight titles and has taken home the championship in three of the last four seasons.
— OptaLarry🏀 (@OptaLarry) May 24, 2019
Barkley scored 22.1 points and grabbed 11.7 rebounds per game over his 16-year career. He retired in 2000 and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame six years later.
Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Warriors and Raptors will tipoff Thursday at 9 p.m. ET.