Two of the greatest power forwards ever: Charles Barkley and Karl Malone. They have
always been compared to one another. In 1992, when they were both on the Dream
Team, they brought a lot of the competitiveness. They were always trash talking
each other and fighting over which one was better. They really got heated when
Barkley dunked on Malone in one of the Dream Team's practices. In 1997 of the
Eastern Conference Finals Barkley and the Rockets faced Malone and the Jazz. In
game 4 Barkley grabbed a rebound and said a few words to Malone who then
knocked Barkley on the ground. Today I will compare the two players and decide
whose better. I will separate them into categories including: scoring, defense,
passing, rebounding, and the finale.
Feel free to comment. Please do this in a proper manner. Follow me on twitter at @CJ_H_12.
Scoring: This one isn't very difficult although they
are both very good scorers. Here are their PPG averages for their careers:
Barkley: 22.1 Malone: 25.0. As you can see Malone averages more PPG for his
career than Barkley. If you take away Barkley's last 4 seasons then his PPG is
23.3. Still Malone averages more PPG than Barkley. Malone also outscored
Barkley 15-1 comparing their 1st to 16th seasons. The
only time Barkley outscores Malone is in their 9th season: Barkley: 25.6 Malone: 25.2. Malone also outscored Barkley in the 39 games they played each other in the regular season 29 times
while Barkley did it 9 times (They tied once). In the 10 games they played each
other in the playoffs Malone outscored Barkley all ten times. Malone also
outscores Barkley in total points by 13, 171 points. Malone has to win this
Defense: Neither of these players were good defenders but one does have proof that he is a better defender. That player is Karl Malone. Karl Malone has been on the NBA All Defensive First Team 3 times and the second team once. Charles Barkley never even made the second team! Karl Malone also has the 5th best defensive win share in his career in
NBA history. Charles Barkley is number 34. (Defensive Win Shares is a metric that estimates the number of wins a
player makes for his team because of his defensive ability. This number is usually
calculated using full-season statistics.) None of them have anything to brag
about when it comes to steals and blocks. Here are their blocks and steals per
game: Barkley: SPG: 1.5 BPG: 0.8 Malone: SPG: 1.4 Malone: 0.8. This one has to go to Malone though because of his selections to his Defensive Teams and Defensive Win Shares.
Passing: This one isn't
too difficult to decide. None of their teammates have ever complained about
them, and they have about the same APG. Malone's assists per game was 3.6.
Barkley's assists per game was 3.9. However, Barkley did average more assists
from their 1st to 16th season 13 times. Malone only did
it 3 times. It makes since too because Malone is a better scorer. Barkley also
had more assists in regular season games than Malone. Malone had more assists
13 times while Barkley did it 23 times (They tied once). Barkley also had more
assists than Malone 5 times in postseason play against each other too. Malone
had more assists only once (They tied 4 times). As you can see Barkley hands
out more assists. This one has to go to Barkley due to all the facts.
Rebounding: This one is a no brainer. Charles Barkley's nickname answers this question, "The Round Mound of Rebound." Malone was a great rebounder too though. He averaged 10.1
RPG for his career. Barkley averaged 11.7 though. If you take away the first
season for Barkley and Malone then it would look like this: Barkley: 12.0 Malone: 10.2. Barkley also averaged more rebounds comparing their 1st to 16th
seasons. Barkley averaged a higher RPG 11 times while Malone only did it 6
times. In the regular season games Barkley and Malone played in they both
averaged 10.1 RPG however. In the playoffs, Malone actually outrebounded
Barkley 11.7 to 8.7 in RPG. This might surprise people but in Barkley's defense
Malone was all healthy and good while Barkley had knee problems and bad ankles.
Barkley also led the league in RPG once while Malone never did. I have to go
with the stats here and give Barkley the advantage here.
Finale: For the finale I will separate the smaller categories that include, shooting efficiency,
MPG/GPS, and the clutch factor. First is shooting efficiency. Shooting
efficiency will be separated into FG%, 3P%, and FT%. Field goal efficiency is
easy. Barkley has averaged 54.1% for his career while Malone has only averaged
51.6%. This is largely due to the fact that Barkley shoots more layups and
dunks while Malone shoots more jump shots. Barkley has even averaged 60% from
the field once! Malone has never done this. Next is 3 point percentage. This
one has to go to Barkley because Malone only averaged 0.2 3 pointers per game.
That means in 5 games Malone will shoot 1. Barkley on the other hand averaged
1.9 which means in 5 games he will shoot about 10. Barkley also maintains an
average of 26.6% while Malone averages a 27.4%. Malone's averaged would almost
for sure go down if he shot more than he did. Last is free throw percentage.
They were both good free throw shooters. Barkley averaged a 73.5% while Malone
averaged a 74.2%. Malone also averaged more free throws a game. The free throw
category goes to Malone but Barkley wins the shooting efficiency. This means
Barkley is now leading 3-2. The next mini category is MPG/GPS. This stands for
minutes per game and games per season. For this one all you have to do is look
at how many games they played each season. Here are their GPS for their career
(This will not include the lockout season in 1999): Barkley: 68 Malone: 79. If
you take away their last season's then this is what it looks like: Barkley: 72
Malone: 81. As you can see Malone was almost an ironman when it came to games
while Barkley often didn't play. Barkley also averaged less MPG for his career:
Barkley: 36.7 Malone:
37.2. That means if Malone played 81 games and Barkley played 72 then Malone
would play 370 more minutes in that season. Malone obviously wins this mini
category. This means the score is 3-3. The last mini category is the clutch
factor. Here is how they did against the Chicago Bulls in their NBA Finals
appearances. Charles: 1993 NBA Finals Game 1: 21 points, 11 rebounds, and 5
assists. Game 2: 42 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists. Game 3: 24 points, 19
rebounds, and 4 assists. Game 4: 32 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists Game 5: 24 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. Game 6: 21 points, 17 rebounds, and 4 assists. Total: 27.3 PPG, 13 TRB, and 5.5 APG
Here is how Malone did: 1997 NBA Finals: Game
1: 23 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 assists. Game 2: 20 points, 13 rebounds, and 1
assists Game 3: 37 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists Game 4: 23 points, 10
rebounds, and 6 assists. Game 5: 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists Game 6:
21 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists. Total: 23.8 PPG, 10.3
TRB, and 3.5 APG 1998 NBA Finals: Game 1: 21 points, 14 rebounds, and 2 assists Game 2: 16 Points, 12 rebounds, and 4 assists Game 3: 22 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists. Game 4:
21 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Game 5: 39 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists Game 6: 31 points, 11 assists, and 7 assists. Total: 25 PPG, 10.5 TRB, and 4.1 APG. These stats may show that Barkley is more clutch but let's remember Barkley faced Scott Williams. Malone faced Dennis Rodman. Because of
this everything evens out. So in my opinion they are both good clutch performances
although they both had some mistakes. Now the score is 3-3. I will now decide
which categories are the most important. Scoring and defense are more important
than assists and rebounding too me. This is because scoring and defense are on
both sides of the court while assists and rebounding is sort of but not really.
MPG/GPS is pretty big because if you don't play a lot of games it does nothing.
Lastly Barkley often causes trouble off the court while Malone has been really
good. That means that I would choose Malone over Barkley - Either way though
you can't go wrong with either of them. But in my opinion I would choose
Winner: Karl "Mailman"