|Posted by shawn cassidy on July 30, 2012 at 12:55 AM|
Karl Malone to me is the greatest power forward to play the game. He's without an NBA championhsip. But he has two finals under his belt, and he's a former two time NBA MVP. Maybe Tim Duncan is the greatest power forward, when your talking about championships, and overall game. Tim can score, and he plays defense at the highest level.
But how does KG stack up against Malone? Well, KG has the resume, and he's one up on Malone. Garnett has a ring, and Malone searched for a title for two decades. KG could relate with Malone. Kevin waited 13 seasons for an NBA championship.
During the 1996-97 season, Malone put up a resurgent 27.4 points per game while leading the Jazz to a 64–18 record, the most regular season wins in team history. Malone won his first NBA Most Valuable Player award, and the Jazz were the top team in the Western Conference and the playoff champions in that conference. After sweeping the Los Angeles Clippers and defeating the Los Angeles Lakers, the Jazz took on the Houston Rockets, led by the aging trio of Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, and Clyde Drexler.
The Jazz beat them in six games (the last victory coming on a last-second shot by Stockton). Malone finally got to the Finals in 1997, where they played the Jordan-led Chicago Bulls. In a matchup of the two previous MVPs, the Bulls took the first two games at the United Center. Malone struggled from the field, going 6 of 20 for 20 points in Game Two. However the Jazz won the next two games at the Delta Center behind Malone's 37 points in Game 3 and 23 in Game 4, including a game-winning fastbreak lay-up off a spectacular assist by Stockton in the last minute. The Bulls took the next two games and the series, with Malone struggling from the foul line in the pivotal Game 6.
The next season saw the Jazz once again dominate. Malone put up 27 points per game and just missed out on his second MVP award, losing to Jordan. Nevertheless, the Jazz posted a 62–20 record, which was the best in the NBA. The Jazz once again were seated at the top of the Western Conference, and in the 1998 playoffs they defeated the Rockets, Spurs, and Lakers (via a sweep) en route to their second consecutive Finals appearance. The rematch with the Chicago Bulls would start differently, as Malone put up 21 points and the Jazz won Game 1, 88–85. Malone found himself unable to put up consistently high numbers, due in large part to the swarming defense of defenders Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen. In Game 5 of the 1998 Finals, Malone led the Jazz in scoring with 39 points, and the Jazz beat the Bulls 83-81 in Chicago. Malone scored his 39 points on 17-for-27 shooting and also made 9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 turnover. Many of his shots were "mid-range turnaround jumpers from the left side."
A sixth game of the Finals was held at the Jazz' home court, the Delta Center at Salt Lake City, and by trailing the series 3-2 the team was one loss away from losing the series.Malone scored 31 points and made 11 rebounds. Although the Jazz held leads of 49-45 by halftime and 66-61 after the third quarter, the team squandered their lead in the fourth and would lose after Malone lost a pass in the post. With 18.9 seconds left in the fourth quarter and the Jazz leading 86-85, Bulls guard/forward Michael Jordan stole the ball just passed to Malone and with 5.2 seconds left made a jump shot that gave the Bulls an 87-86 lead. John Stockton missed a potential game-winning jump shot. Jordan's shot has been dubbed as the "greatest feat" in his career, and the Bulls' 1998 title was their third consecutive championship and sixth since 1991.
In the lockout season. Malone would win his second MVP in 1999. Many thought with Jordan retiring, the Jazz were favored to win the NBA Championship. The Jazz would fall to the up, and coming Blazers in the second round.
When I think of KG, and Malone. I look at how well both players played past their primes. Malone won his second MVP at the age of 36. KG has just turned 36. and I think he's playing MVP quality basketball. Or at least he did during the 2012 playoffs. Despite the decline of Karl's team and his advancing age, Malone averaged 25.5, 23.2, 22.4, and 20.6 points per game in his last four seasons with Utah. I'm a Malone fan, but some of my feelings changed when he joined the Lakers. I felt betrayed.not only did he join the Lakers, but he left Utah after 18 years. He became a title chaser. Thankfully his quest fell short when the Lakers lost in the 2004 Finals.
So is KG better than Malone? Well, when your talking about defense, of course KG is better, on the offensive end Malone owns KG. KG, and Malone both have a similar game on offense. KG has become a big time pick and roll player. Malone, and Stockton owned that simple play. KG will forever have the leg up on Malone. Kevin has a ring, and hell. Kevin is looking for a second. Kevin may not be a better player, but KG is a better winner.
Here is a bonus: This is what I wrote last year, when I did this series.
One of the greatest players without a ring. Malone was physically gifted,and he worked on his game 24/7.Having scored 36,298 points in his career, the second most career points in NBA history, and holding the record for most free throws both attempted and made, Malone is generally considered one of the greatest NBA power forwards. Without a doubt in my mind if Malone had beaten Jordan,and the Bulls at least once in the 90's. Malone would be the greatest power forward ever. Malone was still gifted,and perhaps the best scoring power forward in league history. Malone ended his career with a scoring average of 25 a game,and 10 boards a game.
In 1997 and 1999, Malone won the NBA Most Valuable Player award. Malone appeared in the playoffs every season in his career, including three NBA Finals: in 1997 and 1998 with the Jazz and in 2004 with the Lakers. The Jazz became a team I liked during the mid 90's. I loved Stockton,and Malone they became my escape when it was playoff time when the Celtics were home. I always felt bad for the duo,and their quest for a title. Just like most players from his generation. Nobody could beat Jordan in the finals.
How would KG compare to Malone? Malone was better on offense. Malone became a shooter from 15 feet out later in his career much like KG of today. In their younger days both players could throw it down,and they both played around the basket. Malone had the bulk,but KG has the length,and height. Malone was solid on defense,but KG takes it to a different level. Garnett has the title over Malone,but does that mean he's a greater player? My heart says KG is better,but my mind says Malone. Malone endured until he was 40,and he was averaging 20 a game at age 39. He played over 80 games in every regular season until his final season. I will give this win to KG.Here is why. KG never had a Stockton. KG carried teams by himself for years,and he made the playoffs despite exiting out of the first round every year except one in Sota. He came close to have a Stockton type player,but that was broken up in two,and a half years after Marbury was traded. He had one stint in 2003-04 when he had Sam,and Spree. When KG got the talent he used them,and he won a title.
KG wins by a small amount. A real small amount. KG sacrificed his offense for the team. I believe he could have scored like Malone if he wanted to be selfish,but it's never been KG to be selfish. KG doesn't have the high career totals like Malone. That doesn't matter. I think KG can handle Malone,and I think he can score on Malone without question.