Trail Blazers News: Charles Barkley picks Portland as the favorite in the West

It's wise to take Sir Chuck's proclamations with a grain of salt, but former 'Round Mound of Rebound' and current TNT analyst Charles Barkley believes the Portland Trail Blazers have what it takes to survive a stacked Western Conference en route to the 2015 NBA Finals.

"If I had to ... I might take the Portland Trail Blazers coming out of the West," he said on a recent Inside the NBA telecast, via Mike Tokito of The Oregonian.

Barkley has a history of writing off contenders too soon, like his early-season assessment of the Los Angeles Clippers: "I'm not sold on the Clippers at all. They're not tough enough. ... They're not mentally tough enough; Blake (Griffin) doesn't impose his will." Also: "This is how the Clippers play; they are a dunk and layup machine; they have no physical toughness."

While there are kernels of truth in there, it might be best to take the former NBA star's words in stride and enjoy the great on-the-court product the Blazers are providing in the here and now.

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