making it to the finals in that era alone says something for malone.
Getting to the finals is one thing, winning them is a different story. If you aren't first your last...who cares if you came in second place? That's the attitude that most fans should have. When you have a great supporting cast like Malone had, you want to win championships, second bests or moral victorys should never be accepted.
Anyways, I'm positive Malone didn't have to go through tougher competetion to get to the finals than Duncan has had. He's played against some really, really good teams in his career during the playoffs. He's lost against some, and won against some.
Fact remains that Duncan has not played in a weak ERA. Not when you put into perspective that he's playing in the super-tough western conference his whole career. If he was playing in the East I might say otherwise....but the western conference has never been a pushover since Duncan has entered the league.