The Answer might not surprise you

Who would you nominate as the NBA's biggest ball hog? Chris Webber – and a stat called Usage Rate – have an Answer.

Updated: March 25, 2005, 2:24 PM ET
By John Hollinger | ESPN Insider
If I asked you to name the NBA's biggest ball hog, would your answer be The Answer?

It might be Chris Webber's. Webber dominated the ball with the Sacramento Kings, taking 19.9 shots per game while coordinating the offense from his perch in the high post. When he joined the Philadelphia 76ers, however, he ran into a problem: There's another guy who had the rock all the time. As a result, his numbers are down so much that Sixers fans are wondering if The Answer has been paired with The Cancer.

Chris Webber

Allen Iverson

Allen Iverson, who is entrenched as the centerpiece of the Sixers' attack, leads the league in both scoring and field-goal attempts. For good measure, he's near the top in assists, too. Between all the shots and all the drives and dishes to teammates, Iverson uses a huge chunk of the Sixers' possessions. He's taken more than a quarter of the team's field-goal tries and more than a third of its free throws, leaving few possessions available for Webber to do his thing. Not surprisingly, C-Webb's touches declined after he went to Philly. He's down to 16 field-goal attempts a game, albeit in fewer minutes, and his assists have been cut almost in half.

Wednesday night, Iverson had 26 shot attempts, making 15, and had game-highs of 39 points and 10 assists in the Sixers' 107-84 home victory over the Detroit Pistons. Webber also had a relatively productive night. He went 9-of-19 from the field and added 19 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists in 33 minutes.

So we can see that Iverson has an effect on Webber's shot count. But is it entirely due to Iverson's hogging the ball or are other factors to blame? To answer that, we have to turn to the numbers.