Prior to the start of the NBA season, the league released the results of their annual General Managers survey, revealing that 62% of GMs polled voted Kawhi Leonard as the best small forward in the game. That marked the first time since 2005 that LeBron James didn't get the nod.

Following last night's clash between the two MVPs, which the Clippers won 112-102, NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley weighed in on the Kawhi vs LeBron debate and left no doubt about where he stands.

Says Barkley, "I don’t hesitate. At this point, Kawhi’s a better player than LeBron. He does everything better. He’s a better defender. A better scorer. He’s better at imposing his will on the game.”

Kawhi led all scorers in Tuesday night's win with 30 points on 10-of-19 shooting to go along with six rebounds, five assists and two steals in 32 minutes of action. Meanwhile, LeBron flirted with a triple-double posting 18 points on 7-of-19 shooting, nine rebounds and eight assists. 

They will be compared to one another all season long, as will their teams, but LeBron isn't buying into the rivalry narrative just yet.

"The NBA's back and everyone's trying to have the narrative of it's a rivalry game and it's a huge test," James said, per ESPN, "but I think both teams are not where they want to be. We have a lot of room to improve."

Up next for the Clippers is a road game against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night, while the Lakers play host to the Utah Jazz on Friday. The two teams will face each other again on Christmas Day at 8pm ET.