Re: #2 NBA Player Of All-Time According to InsideHoops
So Kareem finished #2...
Interesting. Where should Moses be ranked then?
How great was Moses Malone? The 6-10 center faced the 7-2 Kareem in 40 total games from the 76-77 season, thru Kareem's last season in 88-89.
Some here claim that Kareem's peak was in that 76-77 season, although I strongly believe that the most dominant Kareem played in the early 70's. His statistical peak came in the 70-71, 71-72, and 72-73 seasons.
Kareem was 29 in the 76-77 season, while Moses was 21. However, Moses jumped right to the ABA at age 19, so he was already in his third professional season by the time the two first met.
Now, granted, the two probably did not exclusively defend each other in every game, nor were they on the floor at the same time in portions of those games.
There are several interesting aspects to this "rivalry." I am only posting the known stats that I could find, and perhaps there are some here who can provide even more info. I did come up with every one of their scoring H2H's, all 40 of them. However, I could only find their FG%'s and rebounding numbers in their last 16 games.
And overall, Kareem team's went 21-19 against Moses, which was surprising, since Kareem played with much more talented teams in nearly all of their 13 seasons in the league together. In facr, Moses only played on ONE team that ever had a better record than Kareem, in those 13 seasons.
However, while Kareem's teams enjoyed 20-13 margin in their regular season H2H's, Moses' team went 6-1 against Kareem's in the post-season. BTW, Kareem's team's were often leveled in the post-season, despite having better regular season records. Included in those post-season H2H's, was the 80-81 Rockets, at 40-42, beating Kareem's 54-28 (Magic was injured and missed 37 games that season), 2-1 in the first round of the playoffs. And, of course, Moses' 82-83 Sixers, which went 65-17 swept Kareem's 58-24 Lakers, 4-0. That was the ONLY season in which Moses had a more talented roster, and they were clearly better, going a combined 6-0 against Kareem's team in the overall season. However, Kareem did miss one of their regular season H2H's that year, so Moses only went 5-0 against him that year.
How about their personal battles? While a much more prime Kareem, at age 29, outscored the 21 year old Moses in their first year H2H's, it was not a dramatic difference. Kareem outscored him in three of their four games, but his high game was only 29 points. And, by their fourth game that season, Moses outscored Kareem, 26-23.
Another interesting aspect was that while both players started declining somewhat after the 84-85 season, Moses' decline was sharper. Still. Moses generally outplayed Kareem even after that. But, Moses was not the dominant player that he was from the 78-79 season thru the 84-85 season.
And while Kareem won the MVP award in the 79-80 season, Moses was probably already the better player. In the 78-79 season, a 23 year old Moses exploded, and averaged 24.8 ppg, on .540 shooting, with an astonishing 17.6 rpg average (winning the rebounding title by nearly 5 per game.) Kareem averaged 23.8 ppg, 12.8 rpg, 5.4 apg, and shot .577. In Kareem's 79-80 MVP season, Abdul-Jabbar averaged 24.8 ppg, on a sensational .604 shooting, but was on a severe decline in the rebounding department, only getting 10.8 rpg. Meanwhile, Moses was at 25.8 ppg, .502 shooting, and grabbing 14.5 rpg. BUT, H2H in that Kareem MVP season, Moses DRAMATICALLY outscored Kareem, by an average margin of 30 ppg to 20 ppg. And, I have no doubt that he probably dominated Kareem on the glass, as well.
From that 79-80 season, on, Moses was CLEARLY the better player. While Kareem's numbers continued to decline, Moses jusr DOMINATED the league. From the 80-81 season thru the 84-85 season, Moses was THE best player in the league (sorry Larry and Magic, but Moses was UNSTOPPABLE.) He LED the league in rebounding EVERY season in those five years, and and scoring seasons as high as 27.8 ppg, and even 31.1 ppg.
And, the Kareem-Moses H2H's, from the 79-80 thru the 84-85 seasons reflected Moses COMPLETE DOMINATION of Kareem, as well.
After that, both declined, and while Moses generally outplayed Kareem, neither were putting up spectacular numbers.
In any case, in their 40 H2H games, Moses held a staggering 25-12-3 margin in their scoring battles. Not only that, but in their 7 playoff games, Moses enjoyed a solid 5-2 edge. And, Moses held a whopping 11-6 margin in 30+ point games against Kareem.
Kareem's two highest games against Moses were 34 and 36. Meanwhile, Moses had games of 34, 34, 35, 36, 37, 37, 38, and 39 against Kareem. And in their post-season H2H's, Moses held a 2-1 edge in 30+ point games (Kareem's high was 32, while Moses had games of 33, and even 38 in their playoff battles.)
Rebounding? As expected, Moses just CRUSHED Kareem on the glass. In the known 16 games in which I could find their rebounding totals, Moses went an unbelieveable 16-0 against Kareem. And some were by HUGE margins. For instance, in the '83 Finals, Moses not only outrebounded Kareem, 4-0, he held a MASSIVE 18-8 rpg differential.
Not only that, but given the fact that Moses was a better rebounder in EVERY season in their 13 years in the league together, there was a very good chance that Moses won the VAST MAJORITY of their rebounding H2H's. I wouldn't be surprised if the overall margin was something like a 35-5 edge (or maybe even higher.)
Kareem did SLIGHTLY outshoot Moses from the floor in those 16 H2H games, but it was very close, and overall, Kareem shot .523 in those 16 games (again, from the 82-83 season thru the 88-89 season.) Moses shot .472 overall in those last 16 H2H games.
All of which is interesting. For instance, in Kareem's 84-85 and 85-86 seasons, against Moses, he averaged 22 ppg on .513 shooting from the field against Moses in their four H2H's. Against a 22 and 23 year old Hakeem, in those two seasons, and covering 10 H2H games, Kareem averaged 31.8 ppg on a mind-boggling .630 shooting. Meanwhile, Moses averaged 23 ppg on .484 shooting against Kareem, all while outrebounding him by an average differential of 12-5 rpg.
So, for those that question Moses's defense, they had better take a closer look. He was clearly a FORCE against Kareem. Once again, Moses' dodged Kareem's truly dominant seasons ('71-73), but even a young Moses was a near match for a near prime Kareem. And a PRIME Moses just ABUSED an older Kareem (even in a Kareem MVP season in 79-80.)