CAN the Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks go all the way in the NBA playoffs?
Chuck doesn’t think so.
“I don’t like jump-shooting teams,” NBA great Charles Barkley said. “I don’t think you can make enough jumpers to win four series in a row.
Barkley made the assessment about the two top-seeded teams in the Western and Eastern Conference during a teleconference with mediamen including Spin.ph as Turner Sports gears up for its coverage of the NBA playoffs.
The Warriors and the Hawks are the surprise teams of the regular season. Led by Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, the Warriors finished with a 67-15 slate including a 39-2 record at home.
On the other hand, the Hawks of head coach Mike Budenholzer took the top spot in the East with a franchise-record 60 wins.
However, Barkley, an analyst for Turner Sports and one of the hosts of the popular 'Inside The NBA' program, aired doubts if the Warriors and the Hawks can do well under the grinding pressure of the playoffs, largely because of their overdependence on the jump shot.
“I’ve been saying that for 25 years, not just now. I think you can physically manhandle them inside,” Barkley said.
Golden State will face eighth seed New Orleans in the first round, a series Barkley believes the Warriors will win but at the same time will expose their weakness inside.
“They have nobody to guard Anthony Davis, Omer Asik will do a good job on the boards. The other problem they have is (Andrew) Bogut guarding Ryan Anderson outside. That will free up Anthony Davis down low. They are going to beat the Pelicans but they will have matchup issues.”
As for the Hawks, who will open their playoff campaign against Brooklyn, Barkley said: “The Golden State Warriors are better but the Hawks are basically the same team. One of the reasons why I’m not sold on the Hawks is that I just think they are too little and I don’t think you can win three or four series shooting jumpers.”
Barkley sees the Warriors and Hawks having problems against the elite defensive teams in the league.
“That’s the hardest part of the game — shooting the ball. When you play against an elite defensive team, they just have a game plan in knocking the hell out of their jump shooters every chance they get. I love Steph and Klay Thompson but they’ll be busting their chops. By Game Three or Four, it’s gonna wear on them.
“I feel the same way about the Atlanta Hawks. Teams will beat them up down low. I don’t think those jump shots will fall in Game Four, Five, Six or the second round of the playoffs,” said Barkley.
“They are legitimate contenders but I just think bigger teams can beat them up down low.”