Statistics convince me, not other people’s opinions. I didn’t say that Kuzma was a better all around player, because Tatum is a better defender.

Besides the stats I already mentioned, Kuzma has a higher EFG% and a much better assist/turnover ratio.

Let’s do a deeper diver on stats.nba.com to compare the effectiveness of each play in each types of play they list.

Kuzma has the advantages in these offensive areas:

Pick and roll ball handler: Kuzma (1.33 ppp) at 5.1% freq > Tatum (.85 ppp) at 16.9% freq

Transition: Kuzma (1.25 ppp) at 33.9% freq >Tatum (1.1 ppp) at 13% freq

Spot up: Kuzma (.70 ppp) at 23.7% freq> Tatum (.69 ppp) at 16.9% freq

Cut: Kuzma (2.00 ppp) on 8.5% freq > Tatum (0.00 ppp) at 2.6% freq

Areas where they are tied:

Off Screen: Kuzma (1.2 ppp) at 8.5%= Tatum (1.2 ppp) at 6.5%

Here are the areas where Tatum has the advantage:

Isolation: Tatum (.77 ppp) at 17% freq >Kuzma (0.00 ppp) at 5.1% freq

Pick and roll roll man: Tatum (2.00 ppp), at 1.3% freq > Kuzma (1.20 ppp) at 8.5% freq

Postup: Tatum (1.00 ppp) at 7.8% frequency > Kuzma (0.00 ppp) at 3.4% freq (but has to post up centers)

Handoff: Tatum (.80 ppp) at 6.5% > Kuzma (no plays of this type

Misc: Tatum (1.29 ppp) at 9.1% freq > Kuzma (1.00 ppp) at 1.7% freq

Putbacks: Tatum (1.00 ppp) at 2.6% freq > Kuzma (0.00 ppp) at 1.7% freq

Summary:

Kuzma has the advantage in categories of play that make up 71.2% of his possessions. These plays make up 49.4% of Tatum’s possessions.

Kuzma (8.5% freq) and Tatum (6.5% freq) are tied in one category.

That means Kuzma is equal to or better than Tatum in categories that make up 79.7% of his possessions, and 55.9% of Tatum’s possessions.

Tatum has the advantage in categories of play that make up 44.1% of his possessions, but these plays make up only 20.3% of Kuzma’s possessions.

Even more importantly, here’s the breakdown of the areas of play where each player is above league average:

Kuzma is above 1.00 ppp on 64.5% of his plays

Tatum is above 1.00 ppp on 29.9% of his plays.

It seems painfully clear (at least to me) that Kuzma spends the large majority of his time on court doing things that are above league average, while Tatum is only doing things above league average less than a third of the time he’s on court.

All I’ve done is crunch a bunch of numbers off a statistical database.

Now you can bend them however you want to conform to your beliefs.

Written by

Ad agency creative director, writer & designer at https://guttmanshapiro.com. Former pro tennis player and peak performance coach for professional athletes.

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