It's almost universally accepted among NBA stat geeks that players become less efficient as they use up a larger share of their team's possessions hunting for shots. The very best players can remain efficient while sucking up 25 or 30 percent of possessions, but even they begin to fall off beyond that. Ask role players to take on that kind of burden, and their shooting percentages and other efficiency stats will come crashing down.
The debate mostly centers around the search for the proper balance on each team, and whether there is value in simply having guys who can create shot attempts — even if a few of those attempts each night are blatantly bad. Math in a vacuum suggests teams would be better off shifting possessions from heavy-usage players to low-usage players who have been monstrously efficient in their rare chances; this is the "get the ball to Tyson Chandler more often!" argument. Studies of actual basketball suggest that asking Chandler to do more would result in more bad stuff from him — turnovers, offensive fouls, misses, and air-balled mid-rangers like the one he launched last week in San Antonio. Having a ball hog like Carmelo Anthony — playing less like a ball hog this season — might actually have value, as he allows teammates to find their happy medium on offense
The dream is to find the right balance, and there is no easy statistical formula for that. Roster context matters, and we haven't even talked defense. For every example of a team's offense sinking without a ball-dominant star (Hi, Pacers!), we could probably find another offense thriving without one (Sorry, Amar'e.)
The evidence is all over the place. With Thanksgiving upon us, let's take a moment, though, to give thanks to some occasionally unpopular shot-chuckers who might have more value than their detractors think