In the Detroit Pistons' loss to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday, the Pistons committed 23 turnovers. That nearly matched the 24 total turnovers they had in their previous two games. If you look deeper into the turnovers so far this season, it is evident that this team still doesn't quite mesh.
Unfortunately, Basketball-Reference.com and stats.nba.com do not break down turnovers. They just tally them into one category. Fortunately, I am a nerd and will comb through the play-by-play with a notepad and pencil and find out what the box score doesn't say.
On the season, the Pistons have 65 turnovers. That averages out to just over 16 per game. Reggie Jackson owns 17, accounting for over 25 percent of the team's turnovers. Andre Drummond is next with nine, or 13.9 percent. Can they not hold onto the ball? The play-by-play video tells the story.
Of the 65 turnovers, you could consider 19 unforced errors. These include shot clock violations, traveling, offensive fouls, back court violations, etc.
The other 46 are balanced between bad passes (25) and lost balls (21).
Lost balls are an issue when there is little ball movement and the ball being dominated by one player. Jackson has the most lost balls (seven). KCP, who was working on his ball handling all summer, has the next most (four). After that Drummond has three, Steve Blake and Ilyasova have two each, and Aron Baynes, Jodie Meeks and Anthony Tolliver have one a piece.
It is in the bad passes that the familiarity issue begins to show. Now, a player can anticipate a pass and intercept it, but most of these turnovers are simply from ... well, bad passes. Jackson, always a high-turnover player, leads the team in bad passes (eight). He is followed by team's backup point guard, Blake (five). Morris has three, KCP, Drummond, Spencer Dinwiddie and Ilyasova all have two, and Johnson only has one.
The Pistons are currently tied for 20th in turnovers per game. What is encouraging is that prior to Tuesday night, they were ninth best in the league at taking care of the ball. It is likely that Tuesday's game will be an exception, not the rule. However, you cannot expect to win a game when you have 20 or more turnovers. As a matter of fact, since 1985-86, a team turning the ball over 20 or more times wins less than 10-percent of the time! And when the opponent has fewer turnovers in those games, it drops to less than seven percent.
Let's hope the Pistons can learn each other's styles quickly and start taking care of the ball better.