Charles Barkley ESPN TNT Charles Barkley on TNT’s “Inside The NBA.”

As the NBA playoff picture comes into focus, Charles Barkley has made it clear where he stands on the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors’ postseason hopes.

But while Sir Charles doesn’t view either team as legitimate threats in the Western Conference, the same can’t be said for his colleagues elsewhere in the NBA media.

“The West is going to go down to the wire. It’s going to be fun,” Barkley said on Inside the NBA on Thursday. “The idiots on the other network keep talking about the Lakers and the Warriors like they have a chance.”

It’s not hard to tell who the Hall of Fame power forward is talking about. Despite the Lakers and Warriors currently sitting in ninth and 10th place in the Western Conference standings, respectively, both teams have remained two of the most heavily discussed teams on ESPN airwaves.

Granted, both teams have often been discussed in the context of their disappointing campaigns. But to Barkley’s point, ESPN’s NBA coverage often isn’t reflective of which teams have actually established themselves as contenders in the league.

Barkley wasn’t done ruffling feathers.

After Shaquille O’Neal noted that the Lakers and Warriors are both currently positioned to make the league’s Play-In Tournament, the 1993 NBA MVP responded: “The play-in’s not a real thing, just for the record. That’s just something we made up, Shaq. Just like the CBI Tournament.”

“You already in college basketball mode,” Kenny Smith responded, referring to Barkley’s upcoming broadcasting duties for the NCAA Tournament.

“We’re just making up stuff!” Barkley replied. “They should thank Adam Silver for making up some stuff. ‘Hey, let’s just add a couple of teams to the playoffs so the Lakers and Warriors can get in.'”

Obviously, Barkley is just joking. But if the current standings hold, the Play-In Tournament will afford the Lakers and the Warriors with opportunities to make the postseason that they wouldn’t have had under the previous format.

Not that that has stopped ESPN from discussing them as often — or more than — the league’s actual contenders.

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About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.