Charles Barkley: Lakers not a contender

The Los Angeles Lakers were one of the preseason favorites to win the NBA championship this season, but at least one NBA Hall of Famer is not surprised that they're struggling and below .500.

Charles Barkley said Thursday he never thought the Lakers' "super team" was going work and doesn't believe the Lakers are a championship contender.

“They’re old, slow and unathletic,” Barkley told Mike Hill and Mark Schlereth on “Mike & Mike” on ESPN Radio. “I have great respect for Kobe Bryant but I never thought this thing was going to work. Everybody went crazy when they won a couple games in a row but they’re old, slow and unathleltic.

"I said that when I broadcasted their game about two or three weeks ago. They’re not a contender. Everybody wants to go crazy but they’re not a contender. Never start a conversion with, ‘There’s help on the way from a 39-year old.’ That’s never a good way to start a conversation. There’s help on the way, but he’s 39 years old. It’s not going to work. They’re not a contender.”

The Lakers' five-game winning streak ended Wednesday when they gave up a season-high 126 points to the Denver Nuggets in a 126-114 loss. The defeat also prevented the Lakers from moving above the .500 mark for the first time since Mike D’Antoni's first game as the Lakers coach on Nov. 20.

“The Lakers got an old team,” Barkley said. “I hate to keep repeating that. Mike D’Antoni is a very good coach but I never thought they were going to be able to sustain it. You look at the teams in the West. Obviously Oklahoma City is the best team. You got Memphis. You got the Spurs. You got the Clippers. They're not one of the four best teams in the West so they can get over that and get ready figuring out what they want to do with Dwight Howard. That's going to be the key, if he's going to want to stay there or not. That's going to be the really big decision they got to make.”