Earlier this week Charles Barkley sat down with Michael Barkann of NBC Sports Philadelphia to talk about the NBA’s return and the Sixers. As we know Barkley’s opinion on the Sixers has changed often throughout the season, and ahead of the season’s restart, it looks like it has changed again. 

After being one of the biggest critics to his former team, it looks like sir Charles is back on the Sixers’ wagon. He would later go on to say in the interview that “[he] would not want to play the 76ers in the playoffs.”

Barkley would then go on to make a bold statement regarding the Sixers’ two main stars. When referring to Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons he would say that the Sixers will have the best two players on the court against any team in the Eastern Conference except for the Milwaukee Bucks.

That is a statement that he will most certainly get pushback for. In saying this Barkley is stating he feels the Sixers’ franchise players rank above All-Stars like Boston’s Jayson Tatum, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam, and former teammate Jimmy Butler just to name a few.

Along with that bold statement, Barkley would say he has picked the Sixers as a sleeper team when play resumes. “I think they’ve got a legitimate chance. I’d be surprised if they don’t do well” he would tell Barkann.

One thing that cannot be denied is that the Sixers are a sleeper team in the Eastern Conference. A now fully healthy roster with months to recover and refocus should not be counted out.

These were strong words from a man who was outspokenly disappointed in this team in the middle of the season. It will be interesting to see if Barkley can keep his optimism when the Sixers take the court in August.

Kevin McCormick is the 76ers insider for 97.3 ESPN and 76ers editor for Sportstalkphilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @KevinMcC973.