All About the Basketball Usage Rate

You may have seen “Usage Rate” as one of the stats the NBA provides. It shows the overall impact of a player, i.e. how often a player contributes to the outcome of a play. Dominant players like Joel Embiid often have high Usage Rates. This article will explain what Usage Rate is, and how Hoopsalytics accurately calculates this metric.

Simply put, Usage Rate is a measure how often a player ends a possession or shoots relative to the rest of the players when on the floor. Hoopsalytics uses these events in calculating usage:

  • Shots taken (made or missed)
  • Turnovers
  • Lost Tie-ups
  • Trips to the Free Throw Line

An average usage rate would be 20%, with 5 players on the floor and a single player contributing to 1/5th of the outcomes.

Here’s roughly how this is calculated:

Note that in NBA stats, a new possession is counted on an offensive rebound. With Hoopsalytics, a single possession can encompass multiple offensive rebounds. We feel this is a more accurate model for possession.

To see the value in this stat, here are the NBA players with the highest usage for the 2021-2 season:

The players above are all familiar names – you want your best players contributing to the outcome of a possession more often than anyone else. Joel Embiid’s 37.5% usage rate is extremely high, but if he was on my team I’d let him take most of the shots. Likewise for Luka Doncic.

You can also see who on your team is a “ball hog”. For our USF demo team, one of the less-frequently-used players (#21 Newbury) had an abnormally high Usage Rate in just 25 minutes of playing time:

Where to Find Usage Rate

In Hoopsalytics, we display a column for offensive stats called “Usage %” in the default Offensive view when looking at Player Stats. You can also customize any of your views to include this metric.


You can use the Usage Rate to see which of your players are the most ball-dominant, or contributing most to the outcomes of each possession. In general, your best players and shooters should have the highest Usage Rate.

If you want to learn more about Usage Rate, this article is a great reference.

As always, leave a comment or contact us if you have questions or ideas on Usage Rate, or any other topic.



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Category: Analytics | Stats