Sportress of Blogitude

Charles Barkley: Lakers with LeBron James ‘maybe six in the West’

Charles Barkley does not believe the addition of LeBron James — along with a few other veterans — will be enough for the Los Angeles Lakers to leapfrog other teams in the West to rank among the top squads in the conference. In fact, the outspoken TNT analyst thinks the Lakers will be competing for one of the lower seeds in the postseason.

Barkley joined “The Dan Patrick Show” this week and laid it all on the line about the Lakers’ prospects in the first year of the “Age of LeBron” in L.A. And Barkley does not share the same level of optimism about the Lakers as the sportsbooks in Las Vegas.

“They’re No. 5 seed, maybe six in the West,” Barkley said, via NBA Sports Bay Area “I don’t think they’re better than Oklahoma City, I don’t think they’re better than the Denver Nuggets.

“The Rockets to me are the surprising team because I think they have regressed. I’m a big Trevor Ariza fan …┬áMinnesota’s better than the Lakers. As great as LeBron is — I see them as the 4, 5, 6 seed.”

The notion that the Thunder, Nuggets and Timberwolves are superior squads to the LeBron-led Lakers certainly is debatable. However, Barkley made the point that James’ will face much stiffer competition next season than the challenges presented over the years in the weaker Eastern Conference.

“The West is unbelievable,” Barkley said. “He (LeBron) got 20 easy wins the last few years. He won’t get those easy 20 wins in the Western Conference.”

Barkley is standing firm on his original take on the LeBron-led Lakers as his comments to Patrick echo what he said shortly after the superstar announced his move to L.A.

And yet, Sir Charles is known for busting out a comically hot take from time to time. Either way, it will be entertaining to watch whether LeBron and Co. will make Barkley eat his words.