Local High School Star
Join Date: Jun 2009
Re: Barkley: I'm better than Malone
Originally Posted by magnax1
I tend to go back and forth on Barkley and Malone. It's hard to ignore that Malone was a top 10 player for about 15 years, but it is true that Barkley was considerably better at his best, and in terms of offensive impact I'm not sure if there are 10 guys you can point to who were better then Barkley at his very best. Excluding his tendency to sometimes shoot questionable 3s and long 2s he played offensively almost exactly how you'd want a superstar to. Scored extremely efficiently, but he usually looked to improve his team mates chances as much as anything. I think more often then not those 3s he took were to try and get the defense to run him off the line and get more looks in the paint too, but I still dont like them.
Well he had a big part in them losing game 5 by a couple points. It's one of the best examples of why he struggled in the clutch so often. As the defense got tighter at the end of the game, he just couldn't get good shots or position and basically threw a couple possessions away because of it. I think the only time he scored in the final 5 minutes was on a prayer 3 pointer, despite having most of the plays run for him.
Either way though, Houston was equally, or more talented and Hakeem's Rocket teams were built perfectly to exploit a couple of the mid 90's Jazz biggest holes. A very weak center position (Though Antoine Carr was great in some respects) and Utah's poor perimeter D at the time.
I agree with your initial point but disagree with the bolded. I don't think he did.
The Jazz built a 82-75 lead with about 5 min to go in the quarter. After they did that, they tried running the clock down which ultimately led to the demise. Malone was getting double teamed in the post and if you get double teamed, you make the right play and the right play was hitting the open shooter and Malone just did exactly that. The guy they were helping off of, David Benoit, couldn't nail the threes. Malone was forced to take a couple of shots with the clock running down. That was bad strategy on their behalf since it was too early to play the clock game.
You can see the Desert News blames the loss on the lack of 3 pt shooting down the stretch as well.
If you thought the Rockets' defensive scheme down the stretch looked familiar, you were right.
It was the same thing we've seen all season - double-team on Karl Malone, man-to-man coverage on everyone else except David Benoit, who was virtually ignored. That's why Benoit had a chance to shoot three open threes in the fourth quarter. If he'd made one of those, there's a good chance it would have been the Rockets committing desperation fouls in the final couple of minutes, instead of the Jazz.No one came right out and criticized Benoit afterward, but there were some comments that seemed to come close.
"We had some opportunities in the fourth quarter; we just didn't make baskets," said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan.
"To their (the Rockets) credit, they hit most of their outside shots," said Jazz guard Jeff Hornacek.
Also, the Jazz were also very well built to exploit Houston's biggest holes BTW. That team was awful at guarding elite PGs yet Stockton didn't have as great of a series as he should've and they traded away Otis Thorpe and Carl Herrera was injured so they had no PF. Malone was guarded by Pete Chilcutt, Chucky Brown and Charles Jones for the most part and that's a major edge for anybody and it's not surprising he was able to have a dominant series getting to the foul line and forcing double teams. Horry didn't switch to the 4 until the PHX series.
Originally Posted by ShaqAttack3234
Charles is right, Malone never reached the level Barkley was at from '88-'93.
Charles was a better scorer, passer and rebounder, plus he was more athletic and more versatile. Charles was just the better and more dominant offensive player, that's why he was double teamed so often. In fact, out of players in Barkley's era or later, the only players I can think of who were doubled teamed as much as Charles was in his prime are Shaq and Hakeem. It's always been surprising to me how dominant he was in the post with his power game at only 6'5"-6'6". He's easily among the greatest power players of all time, and played both forward positions during his career. He played small forward in '90 and '91 alongside Mike Gminski and Rick Mahorn, and later at times when he played with AC Green in Phoenix.
Malone was definitely a better defensive player than Barkley, he developed until a great post defender around '94 or so. Remember Malone shutting down Robinson in the playoffs? He also developed into a very good passer around that same time, and he improved his jump shot while also becoming more polished in the post.
I actually really like Malone's game from '94-'00, but he was usually a disappointment in the playoffs, even when he became more polished. And Charles is right that be benefited greatly from Stockton, particularly late 80's/early 90's Malone. Though the same can be said about Stockton.
Malone got a lot of easy baskets running the floor, in screen/rolls with Stockton, and early on from lob passes over the top when defenders fronted him. Even the more skilled version of Malone was usually a disappointment in the playoffs, while Barkley showed quite a bit more dominance in the playoffs. Malone had more team success, but Charles was only on 1 contending team in his prime back in '93.
Late 80's/early 90's Karl Malone was still one of the league's best players, though. His post game was effective based on his quickness and strength. He was a great power player, and he did already have a jump shot, plus no 4 ran the floor better.
There's a common misconception about Barkley that he lacked longevity, but that's not true, we can't forget that he turned 30 in the '93 season, most players start to decline a bit shortly after that. He didn't remain at his prime level consistently due to injuries, and perhaps age, but he was still the second best power forward, and easily a top 10 player in '94 and '95. And he showed dominance even before his prime started in '88. Despite being raw in his second year in '86, he already probably established himself among the top players in the league.
His conditioning is also a misconception, his weight was not really an issue after his first year or 2 until he got to Houston. And even in Houston in '97, he averaged about 19/14/5 while sharing the ball with Olajuwon and Drexler and having his offensive game limited by the system. He was averaging 20/15 the first 2 months before injuries.
Malone's longevity was just superhuman, it was really only rivaled by Kareem and Robert Parish.
This isn't to say that Barkley didn't have his flaws as well. it's common knowledge that he was not exactly fond on playing defense, and he also had a habit of holding the ball too much which often led to turnovers because he'd leave his feet for cross court passes because he had trouble seeing over the double at times. He cut down on holding the ball by the time he got to Phoenix, and also improved his jumper. Though I don't think he had the same explosiveness despite getting in the best shape of his career and still being a very good athlete.
Great post. I agree on all counts. Barkley definitely had a better prime. I don't think he really cut down on holding the ball in PHX though. If anything, I'd say he increased it since he'd isolate a lot operating in the triple threat, holding the ball and often forcing longer, tougher jumpshots and he'd often look to exploit the illegal defense rule as well.