The traditional stat for offensive usage looks at how often a player either shoots or turns the ball over. Which means passing and creation isn’t factored into any a player’s “usage.” Using Opportunities Created, a measure of offensive creation, it’s possible to estimate a player’s contribution, or “offensive load:” the percentage of possessions a player is directly or indirectly involved in a true shooting attempt, or commits a turnover.
In other words, the higher the offensive load, the greater the role in the offense. It’s a good way to see who really is “carrying” an offense, so to speak. Here’s an example breakdown of a team’s offensive load, using last year’s Los Angeles Lakers in the playoffs:
The mathematically inclined might be asking: “doesn’t this mean a team’s total load can exceed 100%? Absolutely – which is a reflection of what is being measured. (The league average per team is about 130 per 100 possessions.) Basketball is a team game, and this method is allotting credit not only to the shooter but also to the creator.
Here are the breakdowns by position from last year’s playoffs:
As we might expect, guards carry the greatest load (they have the ball the most). Centers the smallest share. Not all too different from the traditional usage metric. Below are last year’s leaders in the playoffs compared to their usage rate:
It seems that the most active offensive players make something happen on about half of the possessions they play. “Something,” in this case, being a shot attempt, creating a shot attempt or turning the ball over.
Here is the complete list of load leaders from the 2010 Playoffs of players who logged over 150 possessions.