The NBA's Biggest Ballhogs

by Will Laws

Kobe Bryant's most loyal fans will remember him as a relentless worker and five-time champion who would stop at nothing to win each and every game he played in. His biggest detractors would call him a ruthless ballhog and argue that his dogged determination to carry the Lakers to victory would often result in ill-advised shots that torpedoed possessions and frustrated teammates.

That term, "ballhog," carries a negative connotation. It evokes an image of the bully on your playground who won't pass to anyone on his team. In the NBA, however, ballhogs aren't always a net negative. All you have to do is look at the final game of Bryant's career to know that much. The Mamba struck for 23 fourth-quarter points against the Utah Jazz to lead Los Angeles back from a 15-point deficit that was partially created by the chuckfest everyone in the building wanted to see. "Vino" showed he had one last big night in him by scoring 60 points, more than anyone had in the 2015-16 season. And it was in the most "Ko-be!" way possible.

All that said, Bryant was far from the biggest ballhog in the NBA during his final season. PointAfter set out to find the closest matches to Bryant's shoot-first mentality. Though the Mamba still landed in the top 10 of PointAfter's new Ballhog Index, there are several deserving candidates to emerge as his heir apparent for his unofficial title of the league's biggest ballhog.


Tim Duncan

PointAfter included all players who appeared in at least 40 games this season, separating them into three groups: guards, wings and bigs. The average usage rate, assist rate and field goal attempts per game were then calculated for each position.

Average guard: 20.9% USG, 21.2% AST, 9.7 FGA
Average wing: 17.8% USG, 10.6% AST, 9.5 FGA
Average big: 18.6% USG, 9.4% AST, 9.7 FGA

Those averages were used in a formula to calculate which players were the biggest outliers compared to their peers with similar roles. Guys who recorded high usage rates, low assist rates and a large amount of shots in 2015-16 received a higher score on PointAfter's Ballhog Index, which operates on a rough 0-100 scale.

There are several players labeled "ballhogs" in this article who are granted the green light by their coaches whenever they have an inch of space on their defenders. That mentality can lead to results on either side of the spectrum. But no matter what happens, the blame or credit always goes back to the player who took the shot.

Even the most ardent ballhog haters have to grudgingly respect the NBA players like Bryant who shoulder that heavy burden of responsibility.

Note: PointAfter rounded the Ballhog Index to one decimal point. Though it might appear so, there were no ties.

#28. Isaiah Thomas

Ballhog Index: 60.8

Usage rate: 29.7
Assist rate: 32.7
Shots per game: 16.9

#27. Derrick Rose

Ballhog Index: 60.9

Usage rate: 27.3
Assist rate: 25.5
Shots per game: 15.9

#26. Kemba Walker

Ballhog Index: 61

Usage rate: 26.6
Assist rate: 25.5
Shots per game: 16.6

#25. Rudy Gay

Ballhog Index: 61.2

Usage rate: 22.5
Assist rate: 7.9
Shots per game: 14.4

#24. Kristaps Porzingis

Ballhog Index: 61.5

Usage rate: 24.6
Assist rate: 7.9
Shots per game: 12.3

#23. Enes Kanter

Ballhog Index: 61.8

Usage rate: 23.4
Assist rate: 3.1
Shots per game: 8.8

#22. Brandon Knight

Ballhog Index: 62.5

Usage rate: 26.2
Assist rate: 24.5
Shots per game: 17.2

#21. Dirk Nowitzki

Ballhog Index: 63.6

Usage rate: 25.4
Assist rate: 10.1
Shots per game: 14.8

#20. Bradley Beal

Ballhog Index: 63.7

Usage rate: 25.3
Assist rate: 15.6
Shots per game: 14.5

#19. Kyrie Irving

Ballhog Index: 65.5

Usage rate: 29.5
Assist rate: 26.7
Shots per game: 16.6

#18. Kawhi Leonard

Ballhog Index: 65.5

Usage rate: 25.8
Assist rate: 12.9
Shots per game: 15.1

#17. LaMarcus Aldridge

Ballhog Index: 67.6

Usage rate: 25.9
Assist rate: 8.1
Shots per game: 14.1

#16. Paul George

Ballhog Index: 67.7

Usage rate: 30.4
Assist rate: 20.3
Shots per game: 17.9

#15. Dwyane Wade

Ballhog Index: 67.8

Usage rate: 31.7
Assist rate: 27.4
Shots per game: 16

#14. C.J. McCollum

Ballhog Index: 68.6

Usage rate: 27.1
Assist rate: 21.4
Shots per game: 17.9

#13. Brook Lopez

Ballhog Index: 68.6

Usage rate: 27.3
Assist rate: 10.7
Shots per game: 15.9

#12. Damian Lillard

Ballhog Index: 68.8

Usage rate: 31.3
Assist rate: 33.6
Shots per game: 19.7

#11. James Harden

Ballhog Index: 68.9

Usage rate: 32.4
Assist rate: 35.6
Shots per game: 19.6

#10. Ryan Anderson

Ballhog Index: 69.2

Usage rate: 24.7
Assist rate: 6.1
Shots per game: 14.1

#9. Andre Drummond

Ballhog Index: 69.5

Usage rate: 24.1
Assist rate: 4.4
Shots per game: 13.1

#8. Kobe Bryant

Ballhog Index: 69.8

Usage rate: 31.6
Assist rate: 18.9
Shots per game: 16.4

#7. Jahlil Okafor

Ballhog Index: 71.4

Usage rate: 27.2
Assist rate: 8.2
Shots per game: 14.7

#6. Stephen Curry

Ballhog Index: 72.1

Usage rate: 32.5
Assist rate: 33.6
Shots per game: 20.2

#5. DeMar DeRozan

Ballhog Index: 73.8

Usage rate: 29.8
Assist rate: 20.8
Shots per game: 17.7

#4. Andrew Wiggins

Ballhog Index: 75.4

Usage rate: 27.2
Assist rate: 10.3
Shots per game: 16

#3. Klay Thompson

Ballhog Index: 77.1

Usage rate: 26.4
Assist rate: 9.8
Shots per game: 17.4

#2. Anthony Davis

Ballhog Index: 80.8

Usage rate: 29.6
Assist rate: 10
Shots per game: 18.6

#1. DeMarcus Cousins

Ballhog Index: 82.4

Usage rate: 35.4
Assist rate: 16.9
Shots per game: 20.5

Article: Courtesy Point After

NBA Basketball: "The NBA's Biggest Ballhogs"