Charles Barkley will be on NCAA Tournament coverage for CBS and Turner Sports. He will be in the studio from New York with his NBA on TNT co-stars Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith, and CBS’ Greg Gumbel and Clark Kellogg.
Barkley, at CBS & Turner Sports March Madness Media Day on Tuesday, said of Duke’s Zion Williamson and how the big man compares to him, “He’s a lot more explosive than I am. I think he’s probably a little taller, too. They say he’s 6’7,” but they said that about me, so I don’t know if they tell the truth or not.”
On if Zion will live up to the hype when he arrives in the NBA, “I don’t know that. I think it’s going to be difficult for him because, I think he would have been a much better player in my day, and I think the way the game is played now, where he is going to be chasing 3’s and 4’s out on the floor is going to be difficult, like I’m smart enough to know as a basketball player, it would have been more difficult for me trying to guard 3’s and 4’s out on the floor in today’s game than just getting on the box and beating the hell out of each other, so I think it’s going to be very interesting because I don’t know if he’s a 3 or a 4, but he’s going to have to guard 3’s or 4’s, and that’s not going to be easy. I’m not saying it’s a defensive liability, but it’s a tough matchup.”
The conversation turned to the NBA, and Barkley said he thinks the Warriors are “vulnerable,” adding, “I said last week, I thought something was going on in that locker room, why they would bring (Andrew) Bogut back in (from Australia). I said, something’s going on because they have the best record in the West and, for them to go out and want to bring in a guy who’s, number one, not playing in the NBA, but who’s a really good team guy. I said it last week, there’s something’s going on in that locker room. You see it now, the thing that (Head Coach) Steve Kerr said about Draymond (Green) and, you know, there’s just something going on in there, so I think they are vulnerable.
On if a team can beat Golden State four times in a postseason series, Barkley said, “Hell yeah! I mean, Denver is really good. My pick is the Portland Trail Blazers. Listen, man, no matter talented you are, when you got all that bulls**t going on behind the scenes, it catches up with you. I think it will catch up with them,” and added on if they can win the title, “I don’t think there’s a guarantee at all.”
On how Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Boston’s Kyrie Irving have handled free agency: “Durant and Kyrie should have said in training camp ‘I’m not answering any free agent questions,’ but they’ve been really whiny and complain-y all year. I was really proud of Kyrie for coming out with the apology yesterday (Monday), that was really cool, should have said it sooner, but better late than never.”
On what he would say to Durant if he called and told Charles he signed with the Knicks, and his thoughts on Kyrie Irving as well: “I would say, ‘you ain’t tough enough to play in New York.’ I don’t think him or Kyrie are tough enough to play in New York.
“Kyrie’s a very good player. Kevin’s a great, great player, but I’m not sure they have the mental makeup to play in New York.”
On what he thinks of Knicks owner James Dolan, especially in light of his recent incident where he banned a fan for criticizing him: “Dolan is what Dolan is.”