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Pac-12 Basketball: Which High Usage Players Have Been Most Efficient?

Washington’s Markelle Fultz touches the ball as much as anyone in the Pac-12, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he is the most efficient player.

NCAA Basketball: Nevada at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most important basketball analytics that is commonly utilized today is usage percentage, which essentially credits a player with “ending” a possession. This could include converting a shot, missing a shot that isn’t rebounded by the offense, turning the ball over or any other scenario that might lead to a game changing possessions.

Using usage percentage and my offensive efficiency margin statistic that was introduced last week, I assembled a graph that measures efficiency for each player based on how often they are credited with a used possession. Only players with usage percentages of 20% or higher are used in this data set.

Here is a quick breakdown of some of the notable players from this data set:

Dillon Brooks, Oregon
Usage Percentage: 32.2%
Offensive Efficiency Margin: -15.5

Dillon Brooks missed the first three games of the year for Oregon while still recovering from foot surgery, and he still has yet to settle in to a groove for the Ducks. Brooks was a national player of the year candidate heading into the season, but has been somewhat average on the offensive end of the court, where he currently owns a pedestrian 101.0 offensive efficiency and 47.1% effective field goal percentage, the lowest of qualified players on the Oregon roster.

Markelle Fultz, Washington
Usage Percentage: 29.6%
Offensive Efficiency Margin: +0.9

The freshman superstar still can’t seem to get much help. Washington has stringed three victories together for the second time this year with a blowout win over Seattle U on Thursday night, and it is obvious that Fultz is the most important player to his respective team in the Pac-12 this season. The Huskies continue to shoot the long ball at an incredible 43.4% clip, good for second in the nation. But the key ingredient moving forward? Defense. Washington ranks 213th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency, worst in the Pac-12.

Lauri Markkanen, Arizona
Usage Percentage: 21.0%
Offensive Efficiency Margin: +10.2

How good has Lauri Markkanen been? The freshman from Finland has been an absolute stat sheet stuffer, ranking 2nd in offensive efficiency behind UCLA’s T.J. Leaf, playing 80.4% of Arizona’s available minutes, recording one of the lowest turnover rates among P5 players and is also hitting over 43% of his three-pointers. The Wildcats have kept a fairly balanced attack on offense (four players between 20-22% usage percentage), but we might see a higher dosage of Markkanen moving forward. The seven-footer has been nothing short of superb.

Tres Tinkle, Oregon State
Usage Percentage: 30.3%
Offensive Efficiency Margin: +13.2

Here is yet another Pac-12 star that has battled with the injury bug. Tres Tinkle, the lone bright spot in Oregon State’s abysmal start to the season, suffered a broken wrist earlier this month and his return date is unknown. The Beavers (4-9) have already dropped games to Lamar (298 in KenPom), Tulsa (121), Fresno State (144), Charlotte (199), Savannah State (338), Long Beach State (165) and Portland (173). Oregon State’s second option offensively without Tinkle has been Stephen Thompson, who has struggled mightily. Thompson has hit just 9 of his 48 three-pointers and owns an astounding 86.7 offensive efficiency. Yikes.

Bennie Boatwright, USC
Usage Percentage: 22.8%
Offensive Efficiency Margin: -16.9

Bennie Boatwright’s absence in the Trojan lineup may not be as significant as most may think. The sophomore forward has appeared in five USC games this year, but is currently nursing an MCL sprain. Andy Enfield’s group has been fine without Boatwright, still undefeated at 12-0 and has recorded an impressive offensive efficiency of 119.9 during Boatwright’s absence. USC will hope to put the finishing touches on an undefeated non-conference slate today against Wyoming.

Who do you believe has been the most efficient offensive player in the Pac-12 this season? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

(All stats used in this article are courtesy of Sports Reference and KenPom.com)