Mystery Statistics Theater: Hall of Fame Edition

Welcome back to Mystery Statistics Theater, on ongoing series here at Hardwood Paroxysm. In case you’ve forgotten how this game works, allow me to explain. In this space, Conrad Kaczmarek and I will be attempting to do the impossible – we’ll be removing all personal bias from our decisions. In the space below, this is what you’ll find: a comparison of the per-36 minutes (to t normalize and/or eliminate any and all differences in playing time) and advanced statistics of two (or three!) NBA players. These players may be from the past, or they may still be playing today. The only catch is, no names will be attached to those statistics. Our task is then to select one of the players; which one we think is better, which we’d like to have on our favorite team – whatever. We’re choosing one and only one, without knowing who they really are. You can see the comparisons, conclusions and corresponding player names below.

NOTE: We recognize that these comparisons do not account for team context or player roles, and that a statistical comparison is not an end-all, be-all in these type of discussions. We’re also aware that there’s a very good chance we’ll look really, really stupid when the names are revealed. Enjoy.


Created by Jared, Analyzed by Conrad

Both of these guys are really good players (obviously, this is the HOF edition), but one stands out to me. At first glance, they seem pretty darn similar across the board. Both are very effective scorers and rebound at pretty similar rates. Neither really gets many blocks and their assist and steal percentages are real close. It’s splitting hairs at this point because I think both are probably Hall of Famers, but Player A gets my vote. My reasoning is two-fold. The TS% of Player A is significantly better than Player B. Similarly, Player A gobbles up offensive rebounds at a much better rate. Better efficiency and offensive boards? Yes please — Player A it is.

Player A – Charles Barkley, Player B – Karl Malone

Highlight the line above this to reveal player names.


Created by Jared, Analyzed by Conrad

This is almost too close to call. I’m going to assume that both players are wings (either shooting guards or small forwards) and are both likely Hall of Famers. I think this one is just a matter of personal preference. Some may choose Player A because of his higher scoring output, but that comes with a 6.4% bump in usage. I’ll take Player B due to the offensive rebounding. 2.5 of his 3.9 rebounds per 36 minutes are on the offensive glass and that’s enough for me.

Player A – Kobe Bryant, Player B – Clyde Drexler

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Created by Jared, Analyzed by Conrad

I’m starting to sound like a broken record — offensive rebounding and efficiency. In this case, that leads me to Player B. His TS% is significantly higher than Player A’s despite the fact that he can’t hit free throws. Both are Hall of Famers because I’m relatively certain that anytime you averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds for your career, you make the HOF.

Player A – Patrick Ewing, Player B – Dwight Howard

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Created by Jared, Analyzed by Conrad

I’ll start this one by saying that I think they’re all Hall of Fame players. The scoring is too prolific for voters to ignore. I wish I could make a solid argument for one player over another, but I really can’t. Since I have to choose, I’ll take Player C because the three-point shooting and higher assist% makes him seem like a better all-around player. But I don’t really know.

Player A – Carmelo Anthony, Player B – Alex English, Player C – Paul Pierce

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Created by Conrad, Analyzed by Jared

I’m taking Player B, but I’m not really all that comfortable with the choice. These guys somehow managed to have the exact same TS%, which is cool, but also annoying because I’m trying to choose between them. Player B’s advantages in the rebounding and assists departments were eventually enough to overcome his turnover problems for me. He seems to play better defense, as evidenced by his blocks and (slight) steals advantage. So.. yeah. Player B, although I feel like I’m going to regret taking on his turnovers and poor FT%. I guess I’d have to say they’re both HOF’ers, since it was so hard for me to choose between them.

Player A – Elton Brand, Player B – Bill Walton

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Created by Conrad, Analyzed by Jared

I’m gonna say neither of these guys is a Hall-of-Famer. (NOTE: I will regret the previous sentence.) They look to be pretty bad on defense, and neither of them was a *great* shooter on the other end to make up for it, even if they did average over 20 ppg each. Their identical .536 TS% leaves a little to be desired. That said, I’m going with Player A, who makes up for his slight rebounding and FTA deficiencies with assists and better 3-point shooting.

Playeer A – Vince Carter, Player B – Dominique Wilkins

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Created by Conrad, Analyzed by Jared

This is the easiest one for me so far, I think. I’m going with Player C, who manages to have the highest offensive rating (121. Woah.) with the lowest usage rate, has the best FG%, shoots 39.5% from 3-point territory on nearly 5.0 attempts per-36, gets to the line more than the other guys and hits at 88.9% when he’s there. Though he’s got the lowest rebound rate, he makes up for it with assists, and they all play pedestrian defense so I’m not too worried about that here. Yes, give me Player C, then Player A, then Player B, despite his rebounding advantage. I’ll reluctantly say they’re all Hall-of-Famers as well.

Player A – Ray Allen, Player B – Antawn Jamison, Player C – Reggie Miller

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Jared Dubin

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He is the co-editor in chief of Hardwood Paroxysm and the HPBasketball Network.