Top 50 NBA players from last 50 years: Moses Malone ranks No. 12

Editor’s Be aware: As a part of a brand new sequence for his podcast, “What’s Wright with Nick Wright,” FOX Sports activities commentator Nick Wright is rating the 50 greatest NBA gamers of the final 50 years. The countdown continues in the present day with participant No. 12, Moses Malone.

Moses Malone’s profession highlights:

  • 1983 Finals MVP
  • Three-time league MVP
  • 12-time All-Star
  • 4-time first-team All-NBA, four-time second crew
  • One-time All-Defensive first crew, one-time second crew
  • Six-time rebounding champion
  • tenth on all-time scoring listing
  • Fifth on all-time rebounding listing

For almost 30 years now, Moses Malone has slipped by the cracks of historical past very similar to he drifted by a number of franchises over the higher a part of twenty years. These two oddities are in all probability associated. 

They simply don’t diminish Malone’s greatness. 

“The inspiration for this venture,” Wright stated. “You might argue, probably the most underrated participant within the historical past {of professional} basketball.”

Moses Malone is No. 12 on Nick Wright’s Prime 50 Gamers of the Final 50 Years

Moses Malone is No. 12 on Nick Wright's Top 50 Players of the Last 50 Years

One of the crucial imposing massive males in historical past, Moses Malone is a three-time MVP, a 12-time All-Star, an NBA champion and the 1983 Finals MVP. Nicknamed “The Chairman of the Boards,” he ranks fifth all-time in NBA historical past in rebounding (16,212) and is the NBA’s all-time chief in offensive rebounds for a profession (6,731).

He’s undoubtedly some of the achieved. 

If it looks like Malone was indistinctly crashing the boards, the reverberation was felt all through the NBA forest. No one grabbed extra rebounds in skilled basketball over the past 50 years. He had 2,566 extra offensive ones than anybody else. 

That led to a ton of factors. The tenth most in league historical past, in reality. 

Malone wasn’t only a compiler, nevertheless. He’s considered one of eight gamers to win three MVPs, and he did it whereas competing instantly in opposition to three different members of the hallowed group. The Chairman of the Boards was additionally a winner, having fronted a dozen playoff groups for 5 totally different franchises. 

However being a little bit of a vagabond was a part of the issue, because it considerations his legacy.

“Whereas Moses Malone was traded fairly a bit, he was one of many best gamers in league historical past. The three MVPs must matter, the longevity has to matter,” Wright stated. “The rationale I believe he doesn’t get the long-term respect is as a result of on the finish of his profession he bounced across the league a lot.”

Malone’s profession additionally received off to an inauspicious (but in the end impactful) begin. He signed a letter of intent with Maryland however reneged after being drafted by the ABA’s Utah Stars in 1974, changing into the primary trendy basketball participant within the U.S. to show professional out of highschool.

He averaged 18.8 factors and 14.6 rebounds as a 19-year-old rookie, a marketing campaign he capped off with a 30-30 output in his third playoff sport. When the Stars folded a couple of weeks into his second season, Malone’s rights had been offered to the Spirits of St. Louis. In 1976, the younger, skinny heart discovered himself topic to a different draft and was chosen by Portland, who promptly traded him to Buffalo. Two video games into that season, the Braves traded him to the Rockets. 

Houston would turn out to be Malone’s first true house, as he broke the NBA report for offensive rebounds at simply 21 years previous. Within the playoffs, he put up 31 and 26 in opposition to the Bullets’ Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld after which 30 and 25 in opposition to the Sixers. 

In 1981, the Rockets shocked the defending-champion Lakers behind Malone’s 31 and 18 marks in a best-of-three. It was a part of a monster postseason run that noticed him rip off 20 double-doubles in 21 video games, common 27 and 15 within the course of to be the most effective participant within the Finals, albeit a six-game sequence loss to the Celtics. 

He’d win his second MVP the next season however was traded quickly after it to Philadelphia as a result of new Rockets homeowners didn’t wish to meet his contract calls for. 

The transfer paid quick dividends for Philly, which coasted to the league’s greatest report in 1982-83 whereas Malone repeated as league MVP. Earlier than the playoffs started, he predicted the Sixers would go “fo, fo, fo” within the ensuing rounds. They’d lose simply as soon as however sweep the defending-champion Lakers, with Malone claiming Finals MVP after averaging 26 and 18 within the sequence. 

“Arguably the most effective participant, actually the Finals MVP, on arguably the most effective crew ever,” Wright stated. “Some actually good playoff success in opposition to one Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.”

That marked the height of Malone’s powers, although he’d proceed to supply at a excessive stage for one more seven years. After an orbital fracture sidelined him for the 1986 playoffs, Philadelphia puzzlingly traded the legendary massive man to the Bullets. He’d make three extra All-Star groups, together with one with the Hawks, however not get out of the primary spherical once more. His ultimate three seasons had been spent as a reserve with three totally different groups.

Throughout a 12-year prime, Malone averaged 24 and 14. He went for 22.1 factors and 14.0 rebounds for his postseason profession. Solely Wilt Chamberlain recorded extra double-doubles.

“In case you had been to ask me, who had been the best gamers within the league, the man to carry the belt, from [Bill] Russell’s rookie 12 months to proper now, at most 13 guys have held that title — greatest participant within the league,” Wright stated. “Moses is a kind of guys.” 

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