Most people would claim Tim Duncan is the greatest power forward in NBA history and that's pretty understandable.
Just look at what he's accomplished over his spectacular career with the San Antonio Spurs: Four championships, three Finals MVP awards, two regular season MVP awards, 11 All-Star appearances, voted to 12 All-NBA Teams and 12 All-Defensive Teams.
Winning one championship is extremely difficult to do let alone winning four. Think about all of the NBA legends who retired ring-less such as Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Elgin Baylor, and Karl Malone.
Speaking of Malone, why don't people ever say he's the greatest power forward of all time?
Oh never mind, John Stockton did during his Hall of Fame speech a few months ago. But he had to say that since he played with Malone for 18 seasons. That's what teammates are supposed to do.
I personally believe Malone was better than Duncan. And I'm sure that I'm probably one of about ten people in the world who feel that way.
Malone enjoyed a brilliant 19-year career with the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers winning two regular season MVP awards and being named to 13 All-Star teams, 11 All-NBA First Teams, one All-NBA Third Team, three All-Defensive First Teams, and one All-Defensive Second Team.
He also ranks second on the NBA's all-time career scoring list behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
No, he never won a single championship, but he did come close in 1997 and 1998 against Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls and then in 2004 against the overachieving Detroit Pistons.
So since Malone failed to win a ring, why say he's better than Duncan?
Well, simply because his Jazz teams had to face the Bulls, which is the greatest team in NBA history. Those Jordan and Scottie Pippen-led squads were absolutely unstoppable in the 90's.
Would Duncan's Spurs have beaten the Bulls back then? Not a chance.
Take a look at the four teams that the Spurs beat in the finals:
- Ewing-less New York Knicks in 1999
- New Jersey Nets in 2003
- superstar-less Pistons in 2005
- Cleveland Cavaliers in 2007
The 90's Bulls would have clobbered all of those teams.
So basically, the competition that Duncan had to go up against is a lot weaker than what Malone had to face.
If Jordan wasn't around back then, Malone likely would have won titles in both '97 and '98 with the Jazz.
And also if Hakeem Olajuwon wasn't so dominant, Malone would have probably won another ring in '94.
In addition, if Malone hadn't been injured during the '04 finals, he would have won a title as a Laker.
Let me say that I have nothing against Duncan. I think he's undoubtedly one of the greatest players to ever lace up a pair of basketball sneaker; however, I just don't believe he's better than Malone.
Everybody's entitled to their own opinion.
Thanks for reading.