NBA Big Men: Ben Wallace and Dikembe Mutombo

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  • July 2, 2016
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Ben Wallace and Dikembe Mutombo

Here, we look at and compare the various career accomplishments of Ben Wallace and Dikembe Mutombo.

Championships Wallace (1), Mutombo (0)

Wallace was a mainstay of the highly-successful Detroit Pistons teams of the early to mid-00s, consistently making deep playoff runs – including two NBA Finals appearances, and winning 1 NBA Championship. In contrast, Mutombo has only made the NBA Finals once (and lost), but rarely the semi’s or even conference finals.

Defensive Player of the Year Awards Wallace (4), Mutombo (4)

Both players have the same total of Defensive Player of the Year awards and are also tied for the most awards collected for the category.

All-NBA Team Selections Wallace (5), Mutombo (3)

Rarely does the All-NBA Team recognize purely defensive-minded players like Wallace, which is why it comes as a surprise to see him have five selections (3 times on the Second Team and 2 times on the Third Team) given Mutombo’s two-way output.

All-Defensive First Team Wallace (5), Mutombo (3)

With the dearth of quality NBA centers and the advent of more complicated offenses that necessitated higher defensive participation from inside, Wallace, albeit undersized was one of the few classic “big men” to do the dirty work, earning him 5 All-Defensive First Team citations. Mutombo’s era was dominated by many such Wallace’s with better records, making it much more difficult to fit Mount Mutombo in but making the 3 selections more notable in perspective.

All-Defensive Teams Wallace (6), Mutombo (6)

Both players are dead-even, and considering there’s only two All-Defensive Teams, making it to the short list (whether first or second) is always an impressive feat and a testament to the league’s recognition of one’s defensive acumen.

Block Titles Mutombo (3), Wallace (1)

Mutombo is currently second in the NBA’s all-time blocks with a monstrous 3,256 swats while Wallace trails by thousands at just 1,486. As such, it’s no surprise that Mutombo led the league in blocks average three times with 4.1, 3.9, and 4.5 – a feat that Wallace was only able to do once and barely hold a candle to with 3.5 blocks a game being his highest.

Rebounding Titles Wallace (2), Mutombo (2)

In rebounding, both players are tied once again. Mutombo had more double-digit rebounding seasons at twelve, with a career rebounding average of 10.3, compared to Wallace whose career average is just 7 a game, and 7-straight double-digit rebound seasons.

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