Charles Barkley wouldn’t have drafted Kyrie Irving number one overall. While on ESPN Radio New York recently, he told host Mike Lupica that he’d have selected Enes Kanter if he was making that pick. He also went on to add that he believes Brandon Knight, as opposed to Irivng and the other two guards (Jimmer, Kemba) selected in the top-10, has the most upside.
While discussing which of the following four guards taken in the first ten picks that he feels we’ll be talking about the most in several years time, Barkley offered the following response:
“You know, that’s a really good question. I actually think Knight has the biggest upside out of those four myself. I actually think the best player in the draft was Enes Kanter out of Turkey. If I had the No. 1 pick, I’d have taken that kid out of Turkey. But out of those four guards, I think Knight has got the biggest upside in my opinion.”
If Barkley were simply making the argument that he’d have drafted the most talented big, over the most talented PG, that would be one thing. I’d have taken Irving, but I understand that you can’t coach size, and taking the most talented big first overall is far from an outlandish theory in any draft. However, beyond just saying he’d have taken Kanter, he’s also saying that Kyrie Irving isn’t even the best prospect at the PG spot. According to the Chuckster, Brandon Knight is.
I only point this out because when I read the quote I laughed to myself and figured this just might be the end of the recent love affair with Chuck Barkley in Cleveland afterall. We’d come so far too since that night in the Flats so many years ago. During the LeBron James era, the shots Chuck took at ‘Bron ’Bron from his TNT studio desk earned his mug a featured place on the Quicken Loans Jumbtron’s people to make the crowd boo play-list. Three or four years ago, Barkley was in heavy rotation up there right alongside the Steelers and Michigan logos. Then, after James left and Barkley started crushing the Heatles all last summer long with a filter-less regularity, we loved him.
I can still remember – THIS OVATION - that Clevaland fans gave Barkley prior to the first time the Heat played in Cleveland this past December. I was standing right next to the TNT desk when I took that video, and I can still feel the building shaking. It was one of the loudest ovations I have ever heard at the Q. Barkley and Kenny Smith looked like two rock stars as they walked out from the visitors locker room over to their table set up underneath the opposite basket. Everyone felt like Barkley had Cleveland’s back, and Cleveland let him hear how much we appreciated that.
But now he’s taking shots at not only the Cavaliers’ front office, but also Kyrie Irving as well. So I suppose here is where it has to end. It was great while it lasted though Chuck, and we’ll always have last December I guess. We’ve been through too much to send you through a storefront window again over this one, but we may have too go back to booing you again if you don’t back off the kid. He’s our guy now, no offense.
Photo Credit: CBG