For Sixers, not all turnovers created equal

For Sixers, not all turnovers created equal

Highlights: Sloppy play plagues Sixers in loss

December 12, 2013, 5:00 pm
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The Sixers committed 26 turnovers in Wednesday night's 106-99 loss to the Timberwolves. (AP)

MINNEAPOLIS -- Brett Brown was still lamenting his team’s 26 turnovers on Wednesday night after Thursday’s morning practice.

“Twenty-six turnovers is an enormous number so we tried to categorize them and see how they happened,” Brown said after watching film of the Sixers’ 106-99 collapse to the Timberwolves. “There is a trend of what we do in pace, outlets, kick-aheads or skip passes. There was a trend in trying to get the ball into the post and how we reacted to that and then there was a trend of playing into a crowd.”

Brown’s words were analytics at its finest.

The point is once you identify the category an error belongs in, then you can decide how forgiving you are that it occurred. Some turnovers look worse then they are, others look like common sense would ensure they wouldn’t have happened.

Last Sunday against Detroit, the Sixers had four balls stolen on inbounds plays. Against Minnesota, they had the same number.

Brown would classify those turnovers in the "pace" category.

“We want to take it out of the net quick on made baskets," Brown said. “So you want to get it and look up the floor, but the minute we sniff trouble we have to bring the point guard back and then get him with banana cut going the other way.

“The recognition by our bigs taking it out of bounds has been far too risky or not assessed well enough. That was part of our high turnovers, and I would put those into pace and we need to do a better job reading that.”

Pace accounted for six or seven turnovers against the Timberwolves.

The “playing into a crowd” category accounted for most, if not all nine of Evan Turner’s turnovers.

On the season, Turner has committed the most turnovers in the league (88), but his turnovers per game is actually fourth highest (3.8), though neither number is one to boast about.

“We have challenged Evan to take less long twos and try to get to the free throw line more,” Brown said. “With that sometimes he does what we have asked of him, but he puts himself in a real bind by playing into a crowd when it needs to be passed. As a group we do that, it is not just Evan. That is the Holy Grail, I am convinced of it. Successful teams share the ball and don't get into my turn, your turn.”

Because my turn, your turn often equals turnovers, the harder Turner seems to try to get a whistle blown in his favor in traffic, the more the ball is ending up elsewhere.

Turner -- along with the other veteran Sixers -- watched film and lifted weights Thursday, so they were not available to speak after practice.

But some interesting numbers exist that should concern Turner. The first 17 games of the season, Turner averaged 5.2 free throws attempts per game. The last six games that number has dropped to 3.5. It's just one of the areas that's frustrating the Sixers' leading scorer.

“I think he takes things to heart," Brown said, "I think he wants to perform well and he wants to do the right thing for his team and when he doesn't, I think he takes it too personally.

“We have to help him move forward and get that edge and get that swagger and cocky side. There is a toughness that emerges with great players and that is the next phase of Evan. He has to get through it and carry on. Some of it is born out of people, maybe game planning a lot more for him. They are really paying attention to him and the ways that we get him open.” 

The evolution of individual players is a learning curve, but in turn a team evolves into a more successful group.