The "True Usage" statistic aims to look more deeply into how a player affects the entire offense, including assisted baskets, turnovers, scoring, and how many touches all together a player has during his time on the court. In a sense, true usage captures the total offensive production of a player, as opposed to the usage in scoring. For example, if we look at the Cavaliers in 2013-2014, the starters with the highest usage percentage were Kyrie and Dion (which should be of little surprise to just about anyone that watched last year). It makes quite a bit of sense, given that both players are ball dominant and scoring-centric (especially given the team had no shooters to support them on the perimeter). If we look at true usage though, Kyrie and Dion still lead the ranks, but Kyrie is much more effective than Dion.
- Kyrie is far and away the best player on the court, and it really isn't close. His True Usage is through the roof, true turnovers are relatively low, assist usage is incredibly high, and he actually passes the ball much more than you would expect. I would suspect that given the increase in talent this upcoming year, his assist numbers will continue to increase. Furthermore, from his touch ending possession rate, it's evident he's looking to assist more than looking to score. He can fill whichever role necessary, but he's looking to be the prototypical point guard.
- Tristan really struggles to do much more than shoot the ball or turn it over. His assist usage is 1/3 of the next highest player on the court and his turnover ratio is extremely high for a non-ball-handler (for perspective, Thompson's is higher than Dion's). Furthermore, almost 50% of the touches he gets on the ball are either a shot or a turnover (touches ending possession). For a player that's shooting less than 50% from the floor, that's a really bad sign.
- Like we all knew, Anderson is quite special for a big. He passes almost as well as a guard, doesn't turn the ball over, and doesn't need many touches to be effective. If he can stay healthy, he'll be a big boost to this team next year.
- Dion is almost always looking to be a direct influence in a possession. Between having the lowest passes per shot and having the second highest touches ending possession and passes leading to assist opportunities, Dion either wants to score or get an assist. This is the 6th man mentality entirely, and it will be interesting to watch and see if he can alter his game to be more of a utility cog in this team.
- Love and LeBron bring amazing passing. We knew that, but it's fully quantified here. LeBron is better than any other player either on this year's team or last year's that was not named Kyrie Irving. Not to mention, he manages to find players for legitimate assists a majority of the time.
- Aside from Tristan, we have 4 starters who previously had 40%+ true usage. Not sustainable, but still remarkably impressive. What it insinuates though is that each of those players have the ability to positively impact the offense either through scoring or assisting others. We will get to see how this compares further on.
- The averages for this team jumped greatly in some positive categories, but also increased in turnovers. That's expected, given there are now three primary ball-handlers, as opposed to the two that were on the floor last year. The jump in assist usage, true usage, and passes ending in assist opportunities will be crucial to improving the flow of the offense.
- Thompson may not last long in the starting lineup. It's obvious that Andy would fit alongside the rest much better. Dion may face the same fate, given the amount of players that want the ball in their hands at the same time. Kyrie has shown that he can emphasize passing, but Dion has not been incredibly successful at it and Tristan rarely passes unless absolutely necessary.
When we look at the upcoming season, the Cavs match up incredibly well with likely the last two series on their way to win a NBA championship: the Spurs and the Bulls. The Cavs roster is comparable in almost every category other than touches per shot and passes per shot, which will most likely increase anyways given there are so many talented players on the roster. If Blatt can bring all of the pieces together and make them work nearly as well as the Spurs did last season, this team should be one to remember for years to come.