Charles Barkley doesn't want to be wrong again.
That's why the "NBA on TNT" analyst told NBC Sports Bay Area's Dalton Johnson Friday in an exclusive interview that he won't pick the Kings to make the NBA playoffs next season.
"Well I'm a big De'Aaron Fox fan, but let me tell you somethin' -- I picked the Kings to make the playoffs the last two years," Barkley said from the American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe. "I'm not gonna do it again. That'll be three strikes, and I'll be out. I have picked the Sacramento Kings to make the playoffs two years in a row. I'm not gonna get on here and be stupid and be wrong three years in a row."
"They're gonna have to prove it to me," Barkley added with a smile.
Last season marked the closest the Kings have come to making the postseason since their last playoff berth in 2005-06. Sacramento won 39 games, and finished ninth in the Western Conference.
Fox, in his second NBA season, finished as a finalist for the Most Improved Player award. Rookie big man Marvin Bagley III, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, made the All-Rookie First Team.
Sacramento loaded up in free agency, but faces a tough road back to the postseason given the moves made by the rest of the Western Conference. Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis both are in Los Angeles now, while Russell Westbrook will team up with former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate James Harden on the Houston Rockets.
The Kings will rely on Fox, Bagley and the rest of their young core making another leap next season. If that's enough to get back to the playoffs for the first time in nearly 15 years, proving themselves to Barkley will be an added bonus.