As anyone who has followed the Nuggets this seasons knows, a couple things have plagued the team all season; inconsistency, a lack of perimeter shooting, and turnovers. I decided to look further into that turnover issue to see why the Nuggets continued to turn the ball over at such an alarming pace, 14.8 per game good for fifth worst in the league.
To figure out what Denver’s problem was I decided to take a look at each turnover the Nuggets have committed all year via synergy and keep track of three factors; who committed the turnover, what kind of turnover was it, and was it a live or dead ball turnover.
After tracking 667 turnovers (I must have missed a game somewhere but have no idea which) I did a bit of analysis of the numbers and found some interesting facts.
I have attached the document as a link to a public google doc at the end of the post so readers can download it and look for themselves.
Before I break down the things I saw first I want to list the categories I put the turnovers in and explain a few of them:
Self Explanatory: 3 seconds, Bad Lobs, Bad Passes, Double Dribbles, Lane Violation, Fumbled Catches, Fumbled Shots, Offensive Interference, Inbound Violation, Missed Pass, Offensive Fouls (Both Charges and Illegal Screens went under this), Fall/Step Out of Bounds, Palming, Shot Clock Violations, Stepped Out of Bounds, Slipped Out of Hands, Stripped Shots, Travels.
Andre Got Confused: There was one play where Andre Miller got into the lane and had no idea what to do. It resulted in him throwing the ball straight up into the air. I wasn’t sure whether or not to categorize it as a pass or shot so it went under Andre got confused.
Bad Decision: Andre Iguodala got into the air and had no idea what to do leading to this turnover. Unlike most of the other ones that fit into a category simply this was another one that was up in the air so it went just as a bad decision.
Dribbling: Plays that Nuggets players were stripped of their dribble, had the ball poked away from behind, or dribbled the ball off themselves and to an opponent or out of bounds.
Stripped: Plays that the Nuggets were stripped off the ball after or before using their dribbles. Not on shots as that is its own category.
Now onto the data:
The Nuggets have committed almost every type of turnover imaginable. From 3 seconds, to bad passes, to lane violations and palming the ball. If you can name it the Nuggets have probably done it.
56 percent of the team’s turnovers are live ball turnovers. This number is part of why the turnovers have been such a problem for the Nuggets all year. A team can live with turnovers if the majority of them are dead ball turnovers. While no turnovers are good, dead ball turnovers eliminate run out opportunities and easy buckets for opponents. Unfortunately for the Nuggets that hasn’t been the case all season. Not only are the majority of turnovers live ball turnovers, but there have been plenty of live ball turnovers that have occurred on the opponent’s side of the floor. If this number doesn’t get below 50 percent the Nuggets are going to continue to lose games they shouldn’t, purely because they are giving up easy baskets.
73 of Andre Miller’s 96 documented turnovers have been live ball turnovers. Andre’s lack of athleticism really hurts him as he continues to get into the lane and be stuck without anything to do because of his lack of athleticism. This leads to him throwing the ball away and opponents getting out on the break. He also has a team leading 22 bad lobs, over half the teams totals, and most of those are live ball turnovers.
Kenneth Faried has almost a 50/50 dead ball live ball split, with many of his turnovers coming on illegal screens and charges.
40 of Danilo Gallinari’s 67 turnovers are live ball turnovers. Many of Gallo’s bad passes come as a result of him trying to be too flashy and throw no look passes, or behind his back or through his legs passes. The simpler the better when it comes to Gallo.
Andre Iguodala has just about every type of documented turnover. A lot of times Iggy’s turnovers come from trying to do too much, possibly a reaction to being new to Denver and learning the system. It should improve in the second half as he becomes more comfortable in a Nuggets uniform.
Ty Lawson has a 77 live ball/40 dead ball split. Lawson gets most of his turnovers by over-penetration and getting stuck with nothing to do because of his size. He then forces something as a result and turns the ball over. But 77 live ball turnovers is way to many for a starting point guard at this point in the season.
The final breakdowns of turnovers by type:
8 3 second calls.
1 Andre Got Confused.
1 Iggy Bad Decision.
40 Bad Lobs.
265 Bad Passes.
3 Double Dribbles.
1 Lane Violation.
19 Fumbled Catches.
1 Fumbled Shot.
5 Offensive Interference.
1 Inbound Violation.
1 Lost Jump Ball.
1 Missed Pass.
77 Offensive Fouls.
1 Fall Out of Bounds.
7 Palming Violations.
22 Shot Clock Violations.
5 Balls Slipped Out of Hands.
10 Stepped Out of Bounds.
25 Stripped Non-Shots.
28 Stripped On Shots.
Obviously the number that stands out is the 265 bad passes. Many are just forced passes into the traffic of the paint because players are getting stuck in the air or without a dribble. On the bright side it should be easy to cut that number down in the second half of the season by simply not forcing things as much. If the Nuggets could do just that things would be a bit easier on them as opponents would not get as many easy run out opportunities and be forced to play in the halfcourt, where the Nuggets defenders can do their work.
Feel free to look at the data and leave a comment if you notice something new.