The Bottom of the True Usage Barrel


Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin USA Today Sports

Thanks to Seth Partnow and Nylon Calculus, we have an early look at the True Usage and True Turnover percentages, and while we could look at the early winners, I’m going to check out the bottom of this list.

For a quick explanation the True Usage is defined as “Percentage of possessions in which the player is “involved” in the offense either by shooting (including drawing a shooting foul), potentially assisting (including FT assists, but not “hockey assists”) or turning the ball over.”

And the Shot/Touch% is “Percentage of front court touches ending with the player shooting.”

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Discounting the garbage time minutes of Mike Miller, Jason Maxiell and Tyler Hansbrough, I wanted to look at the starters whose true usage rates are troubling.

DeAndre Jordan is playing almost the entire game for 5-4 Los Angeles Clippers and while he’s averaging 9.1 ppg, his Shot/Touch% is very low for a big man. For contrasts sake, JaVale McGee is getting 70.4% on his Shot/Touch. That’s solidly middle of the pack making his shooting in the paint for a starter of his size practically invisible. If he keeps this up, teams can get away without guarding him because he isn’t making a difference inside.

Jason Thompson has a 15.7 True Usage rate, meaning less than a quarter of the time he is involved in the offense. With the teammates of Rudy Gay, DeMarcus Cousins, Ben McLemore and Darren Collison, this makes a lot of sense. He’s obviously the weakest offensive link on that starting five, however, his Shot/Touch% is 30.7%. So for someone who accounts for so little offense involvement, when the ball touches his hands, almost a third of the time will result in Thompson shooting. That’s an awful combination for someone with a 34.1 FG% per game average with 3.2 ppg. McLemore is still finding his sea legs offensively, but if three of your five starters can slip into poor shooting, this is a certainly something to watch the next time the Kings start to have a late game collapse.

Wesley Johnson is the same problem as Thompson, except he plays more minutes and the ball stops even more in his hand as his Shot/Touch% is 35.6 and he’s scoring 8.2 ppg on 41.3% shooting. So he’s scoring more, which is saying something, but with Kobe on the floor, his chances at getting a shot are slim anyways. And certainly with Kobe attempting to be the only offense for the Lakers, the other players must feel they will never get the ball back if they let it go. So it’s less a condemnation of Johnson as a player but the ill system that is in the Kobe Lakers at the moment.


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