Charles Barkley made a bold take last year before the start of the 2019/20 NBA season, comparing Kawhi Leonard with LeBron James, claiming that the former is better than the King, who just won his 4th NBA championship in Orlando with the Los Angeles Lakers. Barkley talked with the Washington Post ahead of the season and made a bold claim about Leonard and James.
“I don’t hesitate. At this point, Kawhi’s a better player than LeBron. He does everything better. He’s a better defender. He’s a better scorer. He’s better at imposing his will on the game. You just saw him will a good Toronto team to a championship–that’s pretty impressive.”
TNT’s Charles Barkley on Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard vs. Lakers’ LeBron James: “I don’t hesitate. At this point, Kawhi’s a better player than LeBron. He does everything better. He’s a better defender. A better scorer. He’s better at imposing his will on the game.” pic.twitter.com/X3MX00uXZ6
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) October 23, 2019
That was the general consensus of the media last year, with ESPN even agreeing with Barkley after he made his interesting takes. During an edition of ‘The Jump’, Tracy McGrady and Brian Windhorst agreed with Barkley on that, picking Leonard over James.
Flash forward, we find that Kawhi couldn’t get the job done in his season with the Los Angeles Clippers, collapsing against the Denver Nuggets in the bubble, blowing a 3-1 lead in the second round of the 2020 postseason. Leonard is now carrying a big pressure entering the 2020/21 season alongside the rest of the team.
The Clips made a lot of changes in the offseason and now are ready to show that they are a championship-caliber team. Leonard will be very important for that task, as the Clippers want to dethrone the Lakers in the West.