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Chuck, Shaq Anoint Kawhi Leonard As NBA’s 2nd Best Player Behind LeBron

Chuck, Shaq Anoint Kawhi Leonard As NBA’s 2nd Best Player Behind LeBron

Charles Barkley has been raving about Kawhi Leonard for the past two years and now he has a giant confirmation about this whole ‘best player in the NBA’ thing.

After watching Leonard pour 18 first half points in Game 2 against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Inside the NBA crew at the TNT studio is in the mood to dish out some superlatives.

“A lot of people don’t say it but I’m going to say it right now,” Shaquille O’Neal said. “Kawhi Leonard is definitely a superstar. [He’s the] second-best player in the league.”

Charles Barkley concurred with the Big Aristotle, saying Leonard is No. 2 behind only LeBron James.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt about that,” Barkley responded. “LeBron’s the best player in the world, but that kid right there, he does it all. Offense, defense, he does it all.”

Leonard finished with 37 points (on 9-of-14 shooting), 11 rebounds and two assists in the Spurs’ 96-82 win and while David Fizdale isn’t at all happy about the guy’s 19 made free throws (out of 19 attempts), it just validated Shaq and Chuck’s comments.

The San Diego State product is already a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and no doubt in line for a First Team All-NBA selection. So while many may opt for Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, James Harden, or Russell Westbrook as the second-best player in the league behind the King, O’Neal and Barkley’s assertion is not all that crazy of a notion.

Photo: Soobum Im l USA TODAY Sports

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