Charles Barkley called LeBron James "an older guy" and said if the Lakers win a championship, it will be because of Anthony Davis, not James.
“I love LeBron and everything about him, but it’s going to come down to Anthony Davis," Barkley said in an appearance on The Herd With Colin Cowherd on Tuesday.
Barkley said the Lakers' two biggest challengers for the championship are the Clippers and the Milwaukee Bucks. He added that he thinks the Clippers would tire out the 35-year-old James in a seven-game series.
"LeBron is going to have his hands full with Paul George and Kawhi [Leonard], offensively and defensively," Barkley said. "So, at his age, that's a lot to ask to handle those two guys."
Barkley went on to say Davis would be the key in that series -- and, really, any series.
"Nobody in the NBA can matchup with Anthony Davis," he said. "To me, he’s going to be the guy who’s going to dictate whether the Lakers win the championship or not. That's just my personal opinion."
James, a three-time champion and four-time MVP, was having an MVP-caliber season before the NBA was suspended March 11, averaging a league-leading 10.6 assists, 25.7 points and 7.9 rebounds a game for the Lakers, who are atop the Western Conference with a record of 49-14
But Barkley still believes Davis would be more important against the Clippers.
“LeBron’s an older guy, he’s going to play defense, he ain’t going to get no nights off if they play the Clippers," he said. "They got a two-headed monster that can guard him. But nobody on that Clippers team can handle Anthony Davis. I said this before and I'll tell you right now: If the Lakers win the championship, it’s going to be because of Anthony Davis."