Charles Barkley: Joel Embiid, Sixers have ‘no chance’ of reaching Finals
Charles Barkley essentially had to eat his own words when it comes to the Philadelphia 76ers during NBA on TNT’s postgame show Tuesday night by stating his former team have “no chance” of reaching the NBA Finals.
During a panel discussion about big men and big superstars in the league, Barkley observed that frequent target Joel Embiid, despite being one of the most talented players in the NBA, is rarely mentioned as one of the best.
“He’s the toughest player in the league to match up with, but we don’t talk about him the way we talk about Luka [Doncic], Giannis [Antetokounmpo], Anthony Davis, James [Harden] – we don’t ever say that about him,” Barkley observed of Embiid, as transcribed by NBC Sports Philadelphia. “It’s frustrating for me, because I picked the Sixers to get to the Finals. They ain’t go no chance.”
Barkley, it merits noting, made his original remarks about the Sixers being his pick to win the NBA Finals when the organization officially unveiled his statue outside the team’s practice facility in September.
After the 76ers star put up 22 points — incidentally his points-per-game average on the season — in a win over the Nuggets, Shaquille O’Neal echoed Barkley’s sentiments as the discussion continued.
“We’re telling you, ‘You can be great. You ain’t playing hard enough.’ Twenty-two ain’t enough to get you to the next level,” O’Neal said. “Do you want to be great or do you want to be good?”
With Shaq and Sir Charles challenging Embiid to realize his potential, it merits noting the Sixers center is already one of the best defensive players in the game. Yet, that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t aim to become a bigger force on the offensive end.
That said, the young star has nevertheless led the 76ers to 18-7 record, which leaves the team sitting at No. 4 in the East with plenty of time to move up and ultimately compete for the No. 1 seed with Giannis’ Bucks squad.