NY Knicks: Who was the better center? Patrick Ewing or Willis Reed?

Patrick Ewing, Knicks. (Photo by MARK D. PHILLIPS/AFP via Getty Images)
Patrick Ewing, Knicks. (Photo by MARK D. PHILLIPS/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Patrick Ewing, Knicks. (Photo by JOHN RUTHROFF/AFP via Getty Images) /

Knicks: Who is the more decorated player?

Patrick Ewing:

  • 15 seasons (11 quality)
  • 1985-86 Rookie of the Year
  • 11x All-Star
  • 7x All-NBA (1x first team)
  • 3x All-Defense
  • 72-67 in the playoffs
  • Deepest playoff run:  1994 NBA Finals (lost in 7)

Willis Reed:

  • 10 seasons (7 quality)
  • 1964-65 Rookie of the Year
  • 7x All-Star
  • 5x All-NBA (1x first team)
  • 1x All-Defense
  • 45-33 in the playoffs
  • 1969-70 All-Star MVP
  • 1969-70 League MVP
  • 2x Finals MVP

Ewing gets the nod for his longevity.  You could argue that guys just didn’t play for as long back in Willis Reed’s day, lesser medical attention shortened careers as well as thinner contracts giving players less incentive to stay in the game, but at the end of the day, it’s still 10 seasons to Ewing’s 15.

Besides that, Reed takes this one.  The league MVP and 2x Finals MVPs would do it by themselves, but take a look at the All-Star and All-NBA nods.  Yes, Ewing has more in total, but when you take into account the percentage of each of their careers they made those teams they match up like this.

Ewing:  11/15 (73%) All-Star, 7/15 (46%) All-NBA

Reed:  7/10 (70%) All-Star, 5/10 (50%) All-NBA

They’re pretty much even.  Also note that during Reed’s career there were only two All-NBA teams, not three, which makes them even more exclusive.

Winner:  Willis Reed