Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How efficient are the NBA's highest-usage players?

Here are the true shooting %'s for the 25 players with the highest usage rates in the NBA right now (min 240 mins played).

(Having trouble seeing the chart? Click here.)

Some takeaways:
  • LeBron James is killing the NBA softly with his efficiency. By the way, the modern-era record for TS%  (min 500 FGA) is 70.2%, by Artis Gilmore in 1981-82. The record for non-centers is Cedric Maxwell at just under 68%. LeBron has a great shot at busting that mark - while taking almost 50% more shots than Cornbread did.
  • Does Kevin Durant curse the existence of LeBron every day, or is it a weekly ritual? Durant's efficiency is startling and borderline historic... except it's overshadowed by this other guy at every turn. Let's just relish them both.
  • Monta Ellis finally does have it all! After posting TS% of 51% and 49% the past two years, Monta is over 59% this year. That's better than Stephen Curry, Tony Parker and Kevin Love. How is this happening? Simply put, he's doing everything better: taking fewer three's, shooting them more efficiently, and getting to the line at a far greater clip than ever before (7 FTA / 36 mins, compared to 4.5 FTA / 36 the past two seasons.) By the way, if this amazing transformation keeps up, this may become one of the strongest points in the Hall of Fame resume of Dirk Nowitzki. (Speaking of Dirk, he just misses the top 25 in usage on this chart, but his TS% is over 60%. That's a hell of a two-headed foundation for an offense.)
  • I'm going to excuse Russell Westbrook's inefficiency for now because he's coming back from a serious meniscus injury.He's been over 53% TS each of the past three seasons, and I expect he'll be back there soon.
  • What's up with DeMarcus Cousins? After a 28% usage rate last year, he's approaching 35% this year. His shooting isn't horrible, and he's actually passing pretty well (a 16% assist rate), so it'll be interesting to see if he can sustain this new level of volume and efficiency. Has losing Tyreke Evans has been addition by subtraction for DMC?


  1. do you guys have a chart like this for last season?

    1. also forgot to mention, this is an awesome chart! amazing to see what lebron is doing

  2. Thanks Ankit - glad you enjoyed it. I don't have the same chart for 2012-13, but here's the raw data for last season from basketball-reference.com: http://ow.ly/rdmUm

    Durant actually edged LeBron in TS% last season. And both of them were miles ahead of every other high-usage player.