Charles Barkley: The Sixers will win the NBA Championship

Charles-Barkley
TNT basketball analyst and former NBA player Charles Barkley talks to colleague Kenny Smith before Villanova played Kansas in the NCAA Basketball Championship semifinals game on Saturday, March 31, 2018 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

It looks like Charles Barkley officially “Trusts the Process.”

Following Villanova’s dominant 79-62 win over Michigan to claim the team’s second NCAA championship in three years, Barkley told his co-hosts on Inside the NBA that Philadelphia might as well start planning for a third championship parade this year.

“I’ll make a prediction. The Eagles won. Villanova won. The 76ers are going to win the championship,” Barkley proclaimed.

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Heading into Tuesday night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets at the Wells Fargo Center, the Sixers sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. They are riding a 10-game win streak, their first since November 2000. And as my colleague Sarah Todd pointed out, the last time the team has won 11 or more consecutive games was in 1990, when Barkley led the team to 12-straight wins.

However, the Sixers will be without young phenom Joel Embiid for at least the next two to four weeks, as he recovers from surgery after fracturing his orbital bone and suffering a concussion after a collision with teammate Markelle Fultz against the New York Knicks last week.

>> READ MORE: Villanova’s Donte DiVincenzo is NCAA championship game star with record 31 points | Marcus Hayes

At least Barkley’s thoughts about the Sixers line up with comments he made on Inside the NBA in March, where he said he didn’t think LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers would end up in the NBA Finals.

But it’s not as if Barkley is known for making great predictions. In fact, he didn’t even pick Villanova to make it to the NCAA championship. Instead, he picked Michigan State, who were upset in the second round by No 11 seed Syracuse, and Arizona, who were defeated by 21 points in the first round by No. 13 ranked Buffalo.

Maybe that explains why Barkley’s reaction to Villanova’s win this year was a lot more subdued than in 2016, when cameras caught the NBA Hall of Famer jumping for joy following Kris Jenkins’ last-second game winner.

Barkley’s bracket was in such bad shape, his colleagues gave him a do-over going into the Sweet 16. It didn’t help much, as the former Sixers great incorrectly picked Texas A&M over Michigan, Nevada over Loyola and Kentucky over Kansas State.

>> READ MORE: With another NCAA basketball championship, Villanova fans let loose 

“Kiss of death,” fellow NBA analyst Kenny Smith explained. “[Barkley] picking you right now… it’s the kiss of death.”

“This was a lot less stressful,” Barkley said. “Plus, they didn’t defeat Carolina.”

Just don’t tell Barkley about the betting line about the 2019 NCAA championship released by Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, which has Duke as a 5-1 favorite to win. Villanova opened at 8-1 for next season’s championship, along with Kansas and Kentucky.