Charley Rosen writes at FOXSports.com that Duncan’s ability to come through in pressure packed situations is what separates him from Karl Malone:
Here’s an example of how little opposing coaches thought of Malone’s ability to excel in important games: The Bulls and the Jazz played a total of 12 games over the course of the 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals. Through it all, the Bulls’ philosophy was to play Malone one-on-one, and he came up with only two games in which his scoring turned the games in Utah’s favor. (Of course, when Michael Jordan did two-time Malone in Game 6 of the 1998 series, he came away with the game-winning steal.)
A Hall of Fame go-to scorer operating against strictly man-to-man defenses should dominate more than two out of 12 games.
Because of Malone’s limited offensive repertoire, his gambling defense and his penchant for choking in critical games, I’d certainly rate Duncan higher on the all-time list. In fact, I rank Duncan as the best power forward ever, followed by Kevin McHale and Bob Pettit, with Malone in fourth place. Dave DeBusshere is fifth, followed by Dolph Schayes and Dennis Rodman.