CONCLUDED: who is the best among Steff Curry and Jayson Tatum? as Michael Jordan revealed the best between them. Who would be your choice? 🤔

Tatum, did you run more pick-and-rolls? Did Tatum have greater impact and effectiveness during the pick-and-roll? Let’s investigation.


NBA Twitter is notorious for being a hot take, meme, and comment-raising wasteland. There are the true, objective evaluations; although it would be preferable if such content were the rule rather than the exception, there is still work to be done before that can happen.


In the interim, you can happen onto jewels such as this one:


Initially, you would probably feel everything from somewhat amused confusion to downright disgusted. Any of those feelings are understandable given that we recently saw what was likely Stephen Curry’s best pick-and-roll performance in the history of the NBA Finals (2022).


However, I was more curious about the footage in my own reaction. On the surface, I disagreed with the argument made above, but in order to be certain that my own prejudices and the limitations of my memory weren’t fooling me, I conducted some quantitative and qualitative research to determine whether Jayson Tatum 1) “spammed” pick-and-roll during the playoffs, and 2) was a highly effective pick-and-roll player.



To set the scene, it is necessary to note that the number of pick-and-rolls (including passes to the roll man or a third party) that the Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors ran during the playoffs was relatively close to one another: 33.5 pick-and-rolls per 100 possessions for the Celtics and 29.0 pick-and-rolls per 100 possessions for the Warriors.


Even though the Celtics enjoyed a small advantage in pick-and-roll possessions, does that advantage translate into something when evaluating the main players on both teams against one another?



Tatum versus Curry PnR Data Synergy

When comparing the quantity of pick-and-rolls both stars ran, Curry has a clear edge in terms of pace-adjusted volume during the regular season (3 pick-and-rolls per 75 possessions more than Tatum) and the playoffs (almost 4 pick-and-rolls per 75 possessions more than Tatum).


Curry also has a significant edge when it comes to pick-and-roll effectiveness. During the regular season, Curry’s pick-and-rolls were in the 77th percentile (1.035 PPP), while Tatum’s pick-and-rolls were in the more mediocre 56th percentile (0.966). The difference was much greater during the playoffs: Curry-led pick-and-rolls were at the 81st percentile (1.090 PPP), while Tatum-led pick-and-rolls were at the 42nd percentile (0.925 PPP).

Tatum is a talented offensive player who has demonstrated the ability to score on all three levels, it should be noted. Few players are fortunate enough to possess his mix of height and length. His offensive profile has increased to a level that most people anticipated he would reach, and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. These factors are combined with smooth stroke, nimble footwork, and an enhanced ability to map the floor and pass the rock.

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