NBA Storylines

NBA Storylines: 10 biggest increases and decreases in usage rate

Breaking down which players have been affected by the biggest increases (and drops) in usage rates around the NBA.

Already a focal point of the Nuggets’ offense, Nikola Jokic has seen a jump in usage this season.

A new season can bring new roles for old (and not-so-old) players. Some will have a larger part in the offense, while others will take a back seat.

Here are the players who’ve seen the biggest jumps in usage rate from last season, through Wednesday …

Biggest jumps in usage rate, 2022-23 to 2023-24

2022-23 2023-24 Diff.
Santi Aldama 15.7% 59.1% 22.4% 55.8% +6.7% -3.3%
Jonathan Kuminga 19.5% 59.7% 26.2% 49.1% +6.7% -10.6%
Nikola Jokic 26.3% 70.1% 32.3% 65.4% +6.0% -4.7%
Caris LeVert 18.3% 54.6% 23.6% 53.6% +5.3% -1.0%
Malcolm Brogdon 22.3% 61.5% 27.3% 51.4% +5.0% -10.1%
Lonnie Walker IV 19.8% 57.0% 24.7% 63.7% +4.9% +6.7%
Christian Braun 12.7% 56.8% 17.3% 52.2% +4.6% -4.6%
Jerami Grant 22.7% 60.6% 27.3% 54.6% +4.6% -6.0%
Max Christie 10.0% 56.6% 14.5% 38.5% +4.5% -18.1%
Isaiah Hartenstein 10.7% 56.7% 15.1% 62.1% +4.4% +5.4%

TS% = PTS / (2 * (FGA + (0.44 * FTA)))
Minimum 500 minutes played last season and 100 minutes played this season

Usage rate is the percentage of his team’s possessions that a player ends (via field goal attempts, turnovers and trips to the line) while he’s on the floor. The league leader through Wednesday is Joel Embiid at 36.2%.

True shooting percentage measures scoring efficiency (Mark Williams is the current leader among players with at least 75 field goal attempts), and can often go down when a player sees a jump in usage rate.

Here are some notes …

  • Ja Morant and Steven Adams haven’t played, while Tyus Jones and Dillon Brooks are gone. With that, Santi Aldama is one of four Grizzlies (including newcomer Marcus Smart) in the top 25 in regard to jumps in usage rate. All four have seen drops in efficiency and the Grizzlies have seen the league’s second-biggest drop in points scored per 100 possessions from last season.
  • Jonathan Kuminga has averaged fewer minutes off the Warriors’ bench (20.1) than he did last season (20.8). But the guy he’s played the most minutes with is Chris Paul (usage rate of 16.2%) and not Jordan Poole (28.2% last season). Unfortunately, that hasn’t helped his efficiency. He’s seen huge drops in effective field goal percentage, both in and outside the paint.
  • The Nuggets have seen a jump in efficiency, despite having been without Jamal Murray for the last four games. Nikola Jokic’s increased usage has something to do with that, even if his own efficiency has dropped. His true shooting percentage of 65.4% still ranks second (behind that of Stephen Curry) among 45 players with a usage rate of 25% or higher.
  • Caris LeVert saw a big drop in his usage rate last season (his first full one with the Cavs), and it actually hasn’t risen to its level from 2021-22 (25.2%) or ’20-21 (27.9%). He’s actually played a larger percentage of his minutes (60%) alongside Donovan Mitchell than he did last season (55%).
  • Malcolm Brogdon and Jerami Grant are two of three Blazers (Shaedon Sharpe is the other) in the top 25 in regard to jumps in usage rate. All three have seen drops in efficiency (Sharpe’s hasn’t been as bad as those of the vets) and the Blazers have seen the league’s biggest drop in points scored per 100 possessions, scoring 9.8 fewer than they did last season, when they were a little worse than average on that end of the floor.
  • Lonnie Walker IV and Isaiah Hartenstein are the only guys in this top 10 who’ve seen jumps in true shooting percentage along with their jumps in usage rate, with Walker having seen the biggest jump in efficiency among the 48 players who’ve seen jumps in usage rate of at least 2.0%. Others in the top 25 usage rate jumps who’ve scored more efficiently than they did last season: Kyle Kuzma, Scottie Barnes, Cole Anthony, Cam Thomas, Drew Eubanks, Tim Hardaway Jr., Alperen Sengun and Dyson Daniels.

Here’s the other end of the list …

Biggest drops in usage rate, 2022-23 to 2023-24

2022-23 2023-24 Diff.
Christian Wood 25.9% 62.4% 15.9% 55.1% -10.0% -7.3%
Cameron Payne 23.9% 51.2% 14.7% 66.2% -9.2% +15.0%
Payton Pritchard 19.3% 53.6% 12.2% 43.3% -7.1% -10.3%
Malik Beasley 20.7% 53.1% 13.9% 66.5% -6.8% +13.4%
Keldon Johnson 27.3% 55.1% 20.5% 52.0% -6.8% -3.1%
Deandre Ayton 23.1% 61.7% 16.5% 56.9% -6.6% -4.8%
Jrue Holiday 24.4% 58.6% 17.8% 54.0% -6.6% -4.6%
James Harden 24.7% 60.7% 18.2% 64.1% -6.5% +3.4%
Norman Powell 25.1% 61.2% 18.7% 66.4% -6.4% +5.2%
Terance Mann 14.9% 61.9% 8.7% 50.0% -6.2% -11.9%
  • The Lakers have been at their best (plus-6.4 points per 100 possessions) with Christian Wood on the floor, though (interestingly) that’s a lot more about their numbers on defense than on offense, where he’s had to take a smaller role than he had in Dallas last season.
  • Wood isn’t the only guy on this list who’s seen a drop in usage rate as a result of changing teams. Cameron Payne and Malik Beasley have taken smaller roles in Milwaukee, while Jrue Holiday has seen a drop in usage rate upon leaving Milwaukee. The new Bucks have seen huge jumps in efficiency playing alongside Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
  • It’s kind of interesting that Deandre Ayton has seen a drop in usage rate upon leaving a team that had Devin Booker and Kevin Durant. Among 10 Blazers who’ve played at least 100 minutes, he ranks seventh in usage rate, right behind Jabari Walker.
  • James Harden, meanwhile, complained about his role in Philadelphia, only to register the lowest usage rate of his career with the Clippers. And that’s with the Clips having him often play with the second unit. Two guys on that second unit – Norman Powell and Terance Mann – have also seen big drops in usage rate, with Mann struggling offensively.
  • Other players who’ve seen big drops in usage rate upon moves to new teams: Kelly Oubre Jr. (-6.0%), Kristaps Porzingis (-5.8%), Gabe Vincent (-5.6%), Keita Bates-Diop (-4.8%), Dillon Brooks (-4.4%) and Jusuf Nurkic (-4.1%). Oubre, Porzingis and Brooks have all seen huge jumps in true shooting percentage, while the others have seen significant drops.

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John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

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