Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Russell Westbrook on a Pace to Shatter Kobe's Usage Percentage Record


Russ is at 41.7 Usage Rate !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  41.7.  That is simply insane.  In 2005-06, Kobe, in a display of ball hoggery and shameless gunning unseen before or after. put up a ridiculous 38.7% Usage Rate.

Russ, playing without Durant for most of the year due to injury, took a shot at the record in 2014-15, but fell just shy at 38.4%.  Michael Jordan playing on Doug Collins' 40-42 Bulls in 1986-87 got to 38.3%.  No other player who has played 2,000 minutes in a season has ever reached 38%.  (Iverson reached 37.8% Dwyane Wade is #5 at 36,2% in 2008-09).

Russ is roughly 108% of Kobe's record right now.  There is a lot of season to play, and I have always felt that Kobe's mark was simply unbreakable for a few reasons:

 1) Playing at that Usage Rate requires you to be unbelievably physically fit.  You need to be a remarkable physical specimen to be able to go that hard every possession.

2) You need to combine that physical stamina with a complete disdain for including your teammates in the game.  I mean, you literally cannot want anyone else to get an isolation play or to dribble more than once (more than one dribble generally denies you an assist and reduces your Usage Rate).  LeBron is as physically fit as anyone who has ever played the game, and he has the ball ALL of the time.  But he has never even reached 34% in Usage.  The flaw in LeBron's Usage game is that he genuinely likes to be liked by his teammates.  Most seasons he dedicates the 3rd quarter to allowing some teammate to shine and have his chance at glory (I recall Mo Williams, now Kyrie, Bosh or Wade often got the 3rd Q to shine).  That makes you a nice guy, but it isn't getting you any Usage records.

3) You need to combine physical stamina and disdain for teammates with a healthy dose of "don't give a fuck".  So if the opponent puts 2-3 guys into rotation against you, you need to say "gonna shoot it anyway" or "gonna drive it anyway."  Russ and Kobe definitely share that attitude.  When Phil Jackson took over the Bulls, one of the first things he told Jordan was that he simply HAD to allow his teammates to be more involved in the game.  This wasn't a Usage discussion, per se, but the point is the same -- you cannot be at 38% plus Usage if you have any belief that your temmates are good players and can help you win.  The two things are pretty much mutually exclusive.

Therefore, I always viewed Kobe's 38.7% as basically like those before me many years ago viewed the 4 minute mile -- you just physically could not do it, it would kill someone to do it.

But, Russ may be the Roger Bannister of Usage and he may set the bar so high that no one will ever challenge it.  So maybe he is more like the Bob Beamon of Usage -- will set a mark that lasts for 20+ years.  We shall see.

No comments: