Picking between historical NBA figures is a thrilling exercise. Today, we take a look at the cases of Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace.
Dikembe Mutombo hit the ground running, earning an All-Star spot in his rookie year. It took Ben Wallace longer to find his footing. He failed to find consistent playing time until his third season.
Both players dominated on the glass, and each led the league in rebounding twice in their careers.
Two legendary defeners, both Mutombo and Wallace won Defensive Player of the Year four times.
Infamous for his finger wag, Mutombo is one of the best shot blockers in league history. To this day, he has the second-most swats of all time.
Wallace didn’t have the same flair after blocking shots, but he was a beast sending shots away. Wallace averaged 2.0 swats per game for his career, placing 13th in NBA history in total blocks.
Since both players were historically great defenders, we must set them apart by their offensive contributions.
For his career, Mutombo averaged 9.8 points per game.
Wallace, meanwhile, averaged merely 5.7 points per game.
Likewise, Mutombo was far more efficient, converting 51.8 percent of his shots.
On the other hand, Wallace shot a paltry 47.4 percent in his 16 seasons.
Even worse, Wallace made 41.4 percent of his free throws. Not even Shaq was anywhere near that bad from the line. Mutombo shot an acceptable 68.4 percent from the foul stripe.
Wallace, though, did win a title with the 2004 Pistons, playing a major role on the classic team.
Mutombo never won a ring, but did make it as far as the NBA Finals with Allen Iverson and the 2001 Sixers.
He was also an important contributor on the 1994 Nuggets team that became the first No. 8 seed to beat a No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
Despite Wallace’s exceptional career as an undrafted player, his offensive struggles hurt his case.
Mutombo is our pick.