What's the deal with Kobe Bryant and Kyrie Irving's usage this season?Getty Images

Mom’s basement is getting crowded these days.

Everyone wants to get in on the buzz word of our generation, “analytics.” To many executives in sports and a lot of people who walked 4 miles through snow to get to school, the mere word analytics makes them shiver in fear. To some fantasy players, it’s overwhelming. There is no reason for these feelings.

Using advanced stats to measure a player’s impact is relatively simple. For our purposes with fantasy basketball, usage rate is the most actionable metric. The exact formula for it involves field-goal attempts, free-throw attempts, turnovers, assists, pace and minutes. But the bottom line is it tells us how involved a player is on offense. The more usage, the more chance to post stats.

With that in mind, here are players that have room to grow based on their usage rate.


Urging on Irving

Kyrie Irving sat out the first 1 ½ months of the season as he recovered from a fractured kneecap. His return has predictably been a bit rocky, highlighted by a dreadful outing on Sunday in a dream matchup against the Sixers. But Irving is a great bet to string together some massive games once he gets going. Even though he’s been limited by the injury, Irving’s 30.5 usage rate is seventh in the NBA. That’s way up from last year, when he was 29th at 25.5 The Cavs need him heavily involved to solidify their “Big Three.”

Totals for Mudiay

Emmanuel Mudiay is not a good NBA point guard right now. He’s shooting an intolerable 31.2 percent from the field, 68.2 percent from the line and turning it over 4.0 times per game. But his top-20 usage rate of 27.3 shows us he’s a huge part of the Nuggets’ rebuild. In DFS leagues and season-long formats that are not impacted by efficiency, the 19-year-old Mudiay will bring back some value in the right matchups.

Kobe steak well done

The Kobe Bryant situation is a bit of a running joke. The Lakers have forsaken the progress of young players so he can do a Farewell Tour and jack up 17.3 shots a night. Kobe sits out home games and plays on the road so fans can have the “pleasure” of seeing him one more time. All that said, when Bryant does suit up he’s going to put up numbers via a top-10 usage rate of 29.8. In games he actually shoots over 45 percent, it’ll be ham.

NBA pickups of the week

1. Mirza Teletovic, PF, Suns – With Alex Len hurt and Markieff Morris in the doghouse, Teletovic is getting consistent run at multiple positions.

2. Terrence Jones, PF, Rockets – Houston may soon realize Jones is a better option than Clint Capela and adjust accordingly. Motiejunas (back) isn’t coming back anytime soon.

3. D’Angelo Russell, PG, Lakers – Despite coming off the bench, Russell is getting 23-28 minutes nightly. Even if that never grows, he’s worth owning.

NBA news

Anthony Davis is quickly earning a Mr. Glass reputation. He’s already missed five games this season, left early in whole bunch of others and gone to the locker room a fistful of times only to return. Davis is also shooting under 50 percent for the first time in his career. There are likely some owners that are sick of The Brow and willing to sell at a discount. It’s a risk as Davis’ body truly appears injury-prone, but it’s one we should take thanks to the massive ceiling.

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