Re: Karl Malone on Dan Patrick Show "Charles is the 3d Best PF, Duncan is a Center...
I think Malone is one of the most overrated players ever.
He is kind of like the Rafael Palmeiro of basketball, when you look at his stats he looks like a legend, but when you watch him play he never oozes greatness, and doesn't inspire "awe" in the way the true greats do.
admittedly I am biased because I think he is kind of a jackass, but I think decades down the line, fans will look at his numbers and think of him as a legendary player that he never truly was. And I think the Barkley comparisons are disrespectful to Chuck. Imagine you are picking teams in a schoolyard pickup game... wouldn't you choose Charles long before Malone? I sure would.
But I think Bill Simmons sums it up far better than I can:
When [Malone and Barkley] were playing for quality teams in their primes ('93 and '94), they met in the regular season seven times: the Suns won five, with Barkley averaging 23.4 points, 11.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists and Malone averaging 21.8 points, 8 rebounds and 3.4 assists. Edge to Barkley. And then there's this one: Heading into the '92 Olympics, many thought the Dream Team would be Malone's breakthrough. Jack McCallum even wrote, "Many observers think that [Malone and Pippen] will benefit the most from the worldwide exposure, since both are extremely photogenic athletes who, as Malone puts it, 'haven't exactly been plastered all over everything.'" So what happened? Barkley emerged as the Dream Team's second-best player, number one power forward and breakout star. This has to count for something, right? Chuck blended in with teammates better than Malone did, led the team in scoring and became its dominant personality. It's just a fact. By the end of the Olympics, SI was describing him as "the talk of the Olympic games", with McCallum gushing, "His astonishing range of abilities- outrebounding much taller players, running the floor like a guard and getting off his shot with either hand whle bouncing off bodies around the basket-- seem more pronounced when performed within the Dream Team galaxy."
But then Simmons ranks Malone one spot ahead of Barkley because of his longevity and commitment to conditioning. And I fear future generations will rate Malone higher too, because of those damn counting stats.
but if the question is merely "who was a better player" and not "who had the better career", the answer is Charles Barkley, and it isn't that close.