Charles Barkley’s decision to leave Milwaukee Bucks guard/forward Khris Middleton off his list of Eastern Conference All-Star reserves was met with derision from Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith.
After the Eastern Conference All-Star starters were announced on the show, the Inside panellists - along with host Ernie Johnson - each listed their seven reserves.
While all four agreed on the inclusion of Miami Heat stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, Barkley's decision to omit Middleton, a 19.5 points per game scorer on a team with a league-best 39-6 record while picking two players - Derrick Rose and Andre Drummond - from the 17-win Detroit Pistons provoked a reaction from O'Neal and Smith.
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"They only lost six games and you only think one of them (starter Giannis Antetokounmpo) is good enough to make the All-Star team?" an incredulous Smith asked.
"I normally would have picked Khris Middleton, but he missed a lot of time in my opinion, so I did not reward him," Barkley said.
Middleton missed a seven-game stretch through injury in November, a fraction of the 45 games Milwaukee have played this season.
"Just say you made a mistake, Chuck," chided O'Neal. "He is having his best year."
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"He is shooting at a career-high (percentage) and scoring nearly 20 (points) a night," said Johnson.
"I've thought about that a lot," Barkley said. "I can't have my own opinion?"
Barkley then attempted to explain his Eastern Conference reserve selections, but was interrupted before he could finish.
"Bam Adebayo, easy. Ben Simmons has been playing great. Derrick Rose is the comeback player of the year easily. I have Andre Drummond, he is a great talent..."
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"You have two Pistons from a 17-28 team," Johnson interjected.
"We have an All-Star starter (Trae Young) from a team that has won 11 games," Barkley shot back. "I have no problem with Middleton making it but I just don't think he has been as good as he has been for the past two years. I'm not changing anything!"
O'Neal had the final word: "You didn't pick Middleton? You should be ashamed of yourself, Chuck."
Click the video at the top of the page to watch the exchange in full and tell us your Eastern Conference All-Star reserves in the comments box below.
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