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Charles Barkley believes OKC can be 2nd-best team in West

Thunder, Charles Barkley

The Oklahoma City Thunder have retooled its roster after finally parting ways with Carmelo Anthony after a one-year gamble cam back empty-handed — making the most of his departure by adding a talented bench cog in Dennis Schroder and adding a big man with intangibles in Nerlens Noel.

According to TNT analyst Charles Barkley, the Thunder are poised to be the second-best team in a loaded Western Conference after polishing its rough edges.

“I think they’re the sleeper in the Western Conference,” Barkley said on TNT’s sister network NBA TV. “I think they’re going to be much better. If you go back and play our interviews from last year, I didn’t think that big three was going to work. I didn’t think it was going to work at all. I think they’re going to be a much better team.”

The Hall of Fame big man noted what these changes will do to this team, changing their previous Big Three core to a 1-3-5 that can now anchor this team much more evenly without the need of a third leading scorer.

“I think that they’re not going to have the questions about Paul George. So now their big three is now Paul, Russell (Westbrook), and Steven Adams,” said Barkley. “I love the addition of (Dennis) Schroder. I think he’s a good backup point guard, he’s going to help them. They also got Nerlens Noel. I think he’s going to help them. So to me, I think Oklahoma City might be the second best team in the Western Conference.”

The Thunder will have to edge out the Houston Rockets, the Utah Jazz, and other teams hopeful to dethrone the Golden State Warriors and keep them from securing a threepeat this season.