Remove all preconceived biases and let the facts speak for themselves.
That's what we're aiming for with The Guessing Game.
We provide the stats for Player A and Player B, and you pick which one is better. It's really that simple ... but with the caveat that you don't know the identities before voting.
Sometimes it will be incredibly similar players and a legitimately fair comparison. Sometimes it will be single years being compared and sometimes entire careers. Sometimes the sample sizes will be so ridiculous and disparate that it's beyond ludicrous. Sometimes it's entirely tongue in cheek and not to be taken too seriously.
This time, we're trying to decipher which of these players should make the 2020 All-Star team.
VOTE HERE FOR YOUR 2020 NBA ALL-STARS!
But enough small talk...
Player A is on top and Player B is on the bottom.
So who are the secret identities?
Player A is Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown.
Player B is Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum.
All stats provided above are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com's invaluable Player Comparison Finder tool.
It's safe to assume that three-time All-Star Kemba Walker will receive the Celtics' first bid for this year's All-Star Game. It's also reasonable to believe that with the third-best record in the Eastern Conference, Boston should have more than one All-Star. It isn't likely that they will receive three All-Stars, however, meaning there may have to be a decision made between Brown and Tatum.
Trying to decipher between the two is as tough as it gets. Both young stars are pretty much averaging career-highs across the board and are making a remarkable impact on the Celtics' unexpected rise toward the top of the conference.
What the traditional stats above show you is that Brown is shooting more efficiently from the field and from the perimeter, but Tatum has a slight edge in all the counting stats.
When you dive into some of the advanced stats, Brown actually has a slim 0.2 more win shares than Tatum, but according to NBA Stats, Tatum has the edge in net rating at 10.1 compared to Brown's 5.4. Tatum's 10.1 net rating is the best on the team among players playing at least 20.0 minutes per game, which almost all but decides the underlying factor on who may be the correct selection.
That's not to say that if you selected Player A - Brown - that you made the wrong decision, though. If you were to completely take stats out of this and look strictly at their on-court improvements from this season to last, Brown has taken a bigger jump and looks like a completely different player. He's become significantly better at creating his own shot thanks to an increased confidence in his ball-handling. His outside jumper has vastly improved and he's almost completely conquered one of his biggest woes in his free throw shooting.
If you selected Player B - Tatum - you didn't make a wrong decision either. His shot selection has been night-and-day from last season to this season, even if his shooting splits don't showcase that. He's had a handful of games where you just sit back and marvel at how gifted he is offensively and how effortless he makes scoring the basketball look.
Above anything else, Tatum's play on defence has been his most pleasant development.
Making the decision between these two budding stars isn't going to be easy, as they're both worthy of a vote. If they were to both make the All-Star Game, would it be unfair? No, not really. But three All-Stars from one team that isn't in first-place rarely occurs.
Whichever of these first-time All-Stars get selected, expect to see the one that's left off the team at the top of every "All-Star snubs" list.
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