Not all points are created equally, as players are often tasked with roles distinct from their teammates. There are some players whose sole responsibility is to score, while there are point guards who don’t score tons but can dish out a number of assists on a nightly basis.
So how can we effectively measure a player’s contribution to his team’s offense? Usage rate (USG%) can reflect a player’s scoring load, but it doesn’t really consider the value of passing or the shot opportunities one creates for his teammates.
This is the same dilemma that Ben Taylor (@ElGee35; Backpicks.com and Thinking Basketball) has had before, and it’s the same reason why he developed an advanced basketball metric called Offensive Load (OffLoad).
What’s Offensive Load? Why Should I Use It?
Before Taylor came up with this metric, we heavily relied on usage rate to tell us how much of a scoring load a player carries for his team. But the problem is that usage rate only combines scoring and turnovers, without taking into consideration the other important aspects of offense such as creating and passing.
That’s where offensive load comes in. As per Stats by Ryan, an advanced stats platform for Philippine basketball, offensive load (or OffLoad, for short) “provides a more complete picture of a player’s role in an offense as it incorporates a playmaking component that is missing in usage rate.”
To provide a clearer explanation of the distinction between usage rate and offensive load, let’s look at the numbers of TNT Tropang Giga’s Jayson Castro and RR Pogoy during the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup.
In that conference, Pogoy had more points and overall field goal attempts over Castro. The former averaged 19.9 points on 18.0 field goal attempts, while the latter averaged 15.2 points on 11.5 attempts. Pogoy also had less turnovers (1.3) than Castro (2.2). Since usage rate only factors in shooting and turnovers, that meant Pogoy had a usage rate of 25.2% than Castro’s 24.9%.
But does that mean that Pogoy was more involved in TNT’s offense than Castro? Certainly not. Look at how Castro notched a higher offensive load rating than Pogoy:
Pogoy and Castro’s USG% and OffLoad (2020 PBA PH Cup)
Why is Castro’s involvement in TNT’s offense more pronounced? Since offensive load metric also considers the value of playmaking, Castro’s 5.1 assists per game as opposed to Pogoy’s 2.5 assists made a huge difference. On top of that, offensive load also factors in the impact of Box Creation (BoxCr), an estimate of shot opportunities a player creates for his teammates based on his passing, playmaking, scoring, and shooting (Read more about box creation through this explainer). In that conference, Castro had a higher box creation rating of 8.2 than Pogoy’s 3.9.
Even though Pogoy scored more points than Castro, it didn’t mean that he was more directly involved in TNT’s offense. Their offense revolved a lot around Castro’s facilitating and playmaking, as indicated by his assists totals and box creation, and that is why the veteran point guard actually had a bigger offensive role for his team.
This is why in terms of analyzing how involved a player is in his team’s offense, it is better to rely on offensive load than usage rate. Offensive load provides us with a clearer picture of a player’s responsibilities on offense, including scoring and playmaking, which usage rate cannot offer.
Advanced Stats are now available for Philippine basketball! Through Ryan Alba’s Stats by Ryan, you can now look at team and player advanced stats for the current 2021 PBA Philippine Cup via the Dribble Media website.
Also, check out this glossary for a list of the basketball advanced stats terminologies.
You can also contact Ryan Alba via his Twitter handle (@_alba__).