Usage percentage basically means how big a part of the team’s offense a player represents, based on field goal attempts, turnovers and free throws. To get an illustration of usage, here are some of the all-time usage leaders in the NBA annals: Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Dominique Wilkins and Shaq. The key to really helping a team is to combine that usage percentage with efficiency (just because you’ve got high usage doesn’t mean it turned out well). The kind of efficiency represented by True Shooting Percentage (combining 2-point, 3-point and free throw shooting) is a strong measure.
This year there are only four NBA players are on track to record a 60-plus True Shooting Percentage and an above-30 usage percentage. They are James Harden, Isaiah Thomas, Kawhi Leonard and LA Lakers reserve Lou Williams. (Stats by basketball-reference.) That’s why Williams is a big trade talk subject. CBS Sports reports that throughout NBA history, full seasons at the 30/60 usage/TFP% combo have been achieved by only nine players. Jordan, Kevin Durant, LeBron James — four times each for those guys. Larry Bird, Karl Malone, Shaquille O’Neal, Yao Ming, Harden and Steph Curry are the others who’ve done it. Averaging 18.6 ppg for the Lakers this season, they call him Sweet Lou Williams for a reason. Will they call him a Wizard?