FanPost

Reke, DMC, & MT - Can we win with 3 high usage players or more


I suspended my basketball related Fan Posts around the Here We Stay game, as I thought it was the most important Kings related business at the moment.  I’ve been hesitant to post even now with the proverbial Sword of Damocles hanging over the future of the Kings in Sacramento.

 

However, I think we all need a distraction and now would be a great time to get back to discussing some basketball.  Reading 10 posts/shots a day about the likely move is just depressing.

 

So… all the talk of how Thornton will fit in on the team with Reke back got me thinking.  From a skills standpoint, it would seem that Thronton could coexist with Evans and Cousins.  A shooter to space the floor, who can also drive when the defense is off balance and create some shots is a welcome addition.  However, I’ve heard both fans and commentators wondering if the Kings had too many high usage players now.

 

Can 3 players with high usage rates share the floor and win?  What if we acquire another high usage player via the draft, a trade or free agency and Thornton becomes a 6th man?

 

With that in mind, I decided to take a look back at some of the great teams since ’99 and examined the top Usage rates on their teams for players who were an integral part of their rotation.  To qualify a team had to have at least made the Conference Finals.  And I only took 1 iteration of each Core Team.  For example, there are 2 Spurs teams listed, but only 1 with the Duncan/Ginobili/Parker core and 1 with the Duncan/Robinson/Elliot core.

 

Team

Year

Player 1

USG

Player 2

USG

Player 3

USG

Player 4

USG

Kings

02

Webber

29

Stojakovic

23.3

Jackson

23.1

Bibby

19.7

Lakers*

02

O'Neal

31.8

Bryant

30.4

Fisher

17.6

George

16.4

Lakers*

10

Bryant

32.3

Gasol

21.4

Bynum

20.8

Farmar

19

Celtics*

08

Garnett

25.5

Pierce

24.8

Allen

21.6

Powe / Rondo (18.9)

22.8

Spurs*

07

Duncan

27.9

Parker

27.4

Ginoboli

27.1

Finley (19.6)

19.6

Spurs*

99

Duncan

27.2

Malik Rose

24.6

Robinson

23.8

Elliot / Daniels (19.4)

19.7

Pistons*

04

Hamilton

25.7

Williamson

23.5

Billups

23.5

Wallace / Okur (21.7)

23.2

Heat*

06

Wade

32.5

O'Neal

30

Walker

23.2

Williams (18.5)

18.5

Mavericks

06

Nowitzki

30

Howard

22.9

Terry

22.2

Harris

21.2

Cavs

07

LeBron

31

Ilgauskas

21.7

Hughes

21.7

Gooden / Marshall (19.8)

20

Magic

10

Howard

26.1

Nelson

23.2

Turkoglu

23

Lewis

22

Nets

02

Van Horn

24

Kidd

22.5

Martin

22.4

Harris / Jefferson (19.1)

19.3

Suns

05

Stoudemire

28.3

Marion

21.3

Nash

20.5

Johnson

19

76ers

01

Iverson

35.9

Kukoc

19.8

Mckie

18.9

MacCulloch

18.3

Blazers

00

Wells

25.2

Wallace

21.9

Stoudemire

21.5

Smith / Sabonis (19.6)

20

Bucks

01

Robinson

29.2

Cassell

24.9

Allen

24.4

Thomas / Hunter (20.2)

21.3

Twolves

04

Garrnett

29.6

Cassell

27.2

Spreewell

23.6

 Szczerbiak / Trent (19.4)

22.1

Nuggets

09

Anthony

31.5

Smith

24.2

Billups

21.8

Martin

20

Pacers

00

Smits

26.8

Rose

23.2

Croshere

21.1

Miller / Best (20.2)

20.5

Jazz

07

Boozer

26.5

Okur

22.8

Williams

22.2

Harpring

20.8

AVG ALL

 

 

28.8

 

24.05

 

22.2

 

20.17

AVG No 30

 

 

27

 

23.89

 

22.91

 

20.77

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heat

11

James

31.9

Wade

31.7

Bosh

23.5

Miller

15.5

Thunder

11

Durant

31.3

Westbrook

31.3

Green

19.3

Harden

18.2

Kings

11

Cousins

27.9

Thornton

27.1

Evans

25.8

Thompson

18.2

 

 

(* means they won the championship; Under player 4 I listed some additional, notable players with very high usage, but the usage in parenthesis was not factored into the average)

 

Observations

 

  • Most teams had one very high usage player and a couple of others in the low to mid 20s.
  • There are two main builds for great teams.  Two uber-stars with usage over 30 and supporting players in the 17-20 range.  Or several very good players spread in the 22-27 range.
  • Interestingly, even if you look at total championships or finals appearances, there is no 1 model for success.  Having a top player of course is a prerequisite, but in terms of usage, the Lakers won 3 with two players over 30.  The Spurs have one several with their three headed beast.  The Lakers won two more with one 30 and several 20s.  And the Celtics, Nets, Magic and Pistons won 2 and appeared in 5 more with more evenly distributed teams.
  • 14 of the 20 teams (70%) had one bench player in their top 4.  The average usage for that player was 21.34 for all teams, 21.86 for team’s without a player with a usage of 30 and 20.12 for teams with a player that high.  I’m not sure the 1.86 difference means anything.  But I am open to interpretations.
  • Two odd teams stuck out.  On the 76ers, Iverson’s absurd 35.9 usage rate is something we probably won’t see succeed on this level for a long time.  To put in in perspective, the only player I found who was higher on this elite of a team was Michael Joran in ’91 where he had a 37.1 usage.  Jordan hovered between 31-34.7 in his other 5 championships.  And the Spurs who had 3 players with a usage higher than 27.  They really did center their offense around a “Big 3.”
  • Only 1 team (Pistons) has won a championship when there best player did not have their highest usage.  That’s 14.29% and that’s without factoring the teams with multiple rings.
  • Only 2 teams (Pistons and Nets) have even made the finals when their best player doesn’t have their highest usage.  Point being that for all the love pure PGs get, most teams that find success in the playoffs have stars who certainly have passing skills, but on the passer-scorer scale lean more towards scorer.

What This Means for the Kings

 

It certainly appears that having 3 or 4 high usage players won’t be an issue for us.  How they mesh will be important.  And certainly how they develop will be, as right now our 3 high usage players certainly are not at the level of the players listed above. 

 

It would also appear that two of our players will likely have to curb their usage some to fit into the models above.  How easy that will be to do with teammates who can carry more of the load I am not sure.  This quick and dirty analysis did not look at usage progressions over time or with different teammates.  

Obviously there is a lot more data here and I only did a minor analysis of it tonight (going to the Bay Area this weekend).  So I look forward to your thoughts and observations below.

(This is a FanPost from a member of the Sactown Royalty community. The views expressed come from the member, and not Sactown Royalty staff.)

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