Dallas Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr. and Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell are getting lots of run during their first professional season.
Smith and Mitchell both rank in the NBA’s Top 20 for highest usage rate to start the year. Both have been used on a higher percentage of team plays than some of the game’s top stars, including Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant.
Other rookies who have high usage rates this season include De’Aaron Fox (26.2 percent), Ben Simmons (24.9 percent) and Malik Monk (23.5 percent).
It’s not entirely surprising to see Smith rank so high, considering he was expected to make an immediate impact in Dallas. Dirk Nowitzki is taking more of a back seat as he approaches the end of his career while guard Seth Curry has been out with an injury.
Meanwhile, for Mitchell, the Jazz made the postseason last year. Yet now that Gordon Hayward is no longer in Utah, the rookie has taken over as the player with the highest usage rate for the team.
Some may have seen predicted this considering he had a record-high usage rate during NBA’s Summer League in Las Vegas, though this was only with Utah’s young players.
Now with their full talent available the Jazz still have a capable point guard Ricky Rubio running their offense as well as solid offensive talents like Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors, Rodney Hood and Joe Johnson to utilize as well. Joe Ingles and Alec Burks likely both expect a share of the ball as well.
Regardless, it seems unlikely that either player continues at such a high usage rate.
Smith, who has a 29.6 percent usage rate in the NBA, ranked 10th in his collegiate conference (ACC) with a 27.2 percent usage rate. Mitchell, who has a 28.6 percent usage rate for Utah, had a 23.63 percent usage rate while in college.