With a new rivalry brewing after an eventful seven-game first-round series in last season’s playoffs, the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings will each lay claim to positions towards the top of the Western Conference again in 2023-24.
The Warriors have been a powerhouse in the league for over a decade, winning four NBA championships over the last nine seasons. The Kings, on the other hand, shocked everyone last season to finish third in the West and break their 17-year playoff drought.
NBA legend Charles Barkley believes the Sacramento Kings will finish above the Golden State Warriors next season.
Speaking on a recent episode of the Bill Simmons Podcast, 1993 NBA MVP and TV personality Charles Barkley is backing the Kings to bounceback from their disappointing Game 7 defeat at home against the Warriors.
"“They are gonna be solid. Let’s not sleep on the Sacramento Kings. They might be the 3rd or the 4th best team in the Western Conference. Now, they got confidence. I am telling you, the West is going to be very interesting. I would take Sacramento over Golden State”, Barkley said."
It’s not the first time Barkley has chose the Kings over the Warriors, having predicted Sacramento to take the first-round series in April. After a tight first-half, Stephen Curry’s 50 points led Golden State to a dominant Game 7 victory.
The contrast between the veteran savvy Golden State and the young, vibrant Sacramento makes for an interesting dynamic, one that the NBA has already capitalized on with a fixture between the two teams during rivalry week in January.
As for the teams’ respective chances next season, Barkley’s likely in the minority in picking the Kings over the Warriors. In a recent survey of ESPN analysts, Golden State were ranked third favorites to come out of the West and Sacramento sixth.
The Warriors will be hoping for an upgrade with their acquisition of Chris Paul, while the Kings’ offseason was predicated on the re-signing of Harrison Barnes and a contract extension to All-Star center Domantas Sabonis.