Statistics are useful in relation to other statistics. A single stat can be misleading but several together can be revealing, as someone I know used to say.
When it comes to team stats, I think it's easier to say which are more useful than others. For example, if you're looking at a team's defense or offense, it's better to consider their defensive and offensive ratings (points given up per 100 possessions) than to look soley at PPG or opponents PPG. Things like pace of play can alter points per game stats. This would be an example of stats meaning something in relation to each other. PPG has to be viewed in relation to pace. A team could be top ten in opponents points given up but play at a really, really slow pace, which means they are actually no better than middle of the pack on defense when it is equated to 100 possessions.
The problem is that when it comes to individual stats, it's harder to properly equalize things across the boards the way defensive rating does for teams. There is always some context missing, since individuals are part of a bigger whole.
I still like stats, but, when looking at them, I try to consider several factors, depending on my purpose for seeking out the info.
Last edited by Bill Haverchuck; 07-03-2011 at 04:05 PM.