Anatomy of a Turnover

Kurt —  November 12, 2007

The Lakers had 18 turnovers against the Timberwolves Friday night, emblematic of the way 17.7% of the team’s possessions end in a turnover (20th in the league). How did they happen? Often because the Lakers made a bad decision in transition, sometimes because the extra pass in the lane went array. Here is a breakdown of each one:

1) 1st quarter, 9:12, 6-6.
Fisher brings the ball up after a Jefferson make and at half court tries to thread a pass through to Turiaf who sprinted down and is in the paint, except that Jefferson hustled back and makes the steal, then takes it back up himself (but misses the shot because Chris Mihm never made it down court). Bad decision by Fisher.

2) 1st quarter, 8:15, 11-8 Minnesota. Fisher pushes the ball up quickly after a Gomes make (he was hot early). Things open up a little so he decides to drive the lane straight away, but when Jefferson collapses Fisher tries to make the fancy back pass to Turiaf that fails. The first two are on Fish.

3) 1st Quarter 7:54, 13-8 Minnesota.
Fisher gets the ball in bounds after a make, looks up and tries the three-quarter court pass to a hustling Ronny, but it is over his head and out of bounds. Fisher is not Kevin Love (and has the first three).

4) 1st Quarter, 5:03, 20-15 Minnesota. Kobe grabs the rebound on a miss and pushes it up himself on the left wing. Both Bynum and Turiaf are out high and look like they will set an early pick near the top of the key, but both see each other so both vacate the space just as Kobe looks for the screen. That leaves Kobe driving into the teeth of the defense and Theo Ratliff was there to force Kobe to try a wild pass to Bynum. Which failed. (But Turiaf didn’t give up, knocked the ball away from Marco Jaric, makes a pass to Kobe who passes to Bynum for the dunk.)

5) 1st Quarter, 1:10, 27-26 Lakers. Farmar pushes the ball up and makes a skip pass to Kobe, who starts to drive and when the defense collapses kicks out to Walton, who head fakes the charging defender and drives the land then kicks it out to the top of the key to Kobe, who drives the lane and gets stuffed by Jefferson. Kobe wanted the foul, and maybe it was, but good play by Jefferson as well.

6) 1st Quarter, :30, 30-28 Lakers. Jaric misses a three, Walton grabs the rebound and quickly hits Farmar out at half court on the left sideline, who has Jaric running with him and Turiaf filling the middle of the lane with Jefferson two strides behind him. Farmar has the right idea trying to wrap a pass around Jaric to the cutting Turiaf, but Jaric’s length knocks it away.

7) 2nd Quarter, 10:20 33-30 Minnesota. The Lakers settle in and run a nice offensive set that ends with Radmanovic getting a decent look three from the top of the arc — it misses but Walton gets great position under the basket and grabs the rebound, bringing it out on the left wing. Radmanovic runs to set a downscreen for Bynum in the paint near the basket but his defender is a full step behind, so Walton shoots him a pass — one Radman doesn’t expect. When he does see it he actually recoils from the ball. Bynum is right there too but didn’t react fast enough, and the ball sails through the court and out of bounds.

8) 2nd Quarter, 9:05, 36-33 Minnesota. The Lakers run the offense and get the ball into the paint to cutting Bynum, who tries a jump hook over the veteran Theo Ratlif that misses, but he stays with it and taps the rebound out to Luke Walton near the free throw line. He tries to feed the ball back inside quickly to Bynum, who is doing is best to seal off Ratlif but fails as the defender comes around him to make the steal. Not a great choice by Walton.

9) 2nd Quarter, 6:47, 37-36 Lakers. The Lakers are on the break after Bynum blocks a shot, with Odom bringing the ball up the right wing. Defenders start to slide to him just after half court so he skips it over to Walton on the left side, who tries the quick bounce pass back to Odom going to the hoop but it gets knocked away (and becomes an easy bucket for the T-Wolves at the other end). This was just a one off night for Walton all around.

10) 2nd Quarter, 4:49, 44-40 Lakers. The Lakers are off and running after a Turiaf steal, Fish drives the lane and draws the defenders then makes a bounce pass to Bynum, but Ratlif rotates quickly, then Bynum chooses to do the right thing and throws it back out top to set up the offense. (At least this error isn’t in transition.) With 14 on the clock Kobe gets the ball on the wing beyond the three-point arc, draws in his defender with a headfake then drives around him into the lane. Ratlif rotates, Bynum makes the cut to the hole but Kobe’s wrap-around pass to Bynum just harmlessly bounces out of bounds.

11) 3rd Quarter, 7:15, 66-54 Lakers.
Not coincidentally, it takes the Lakers almost five minutes into the second half to commit a turnover, and they go on a big run. The streak ends when Kobe gets an outlet from Mihm and brings it up the right side, decides to use a crossover to shake Buckner and just loses control and it goes out of bounds.

12) 3rd Quarter, 5:45, 70-56 Lakers. Bynum outlets to Fisher who pushes it up the middle of the court and at the free throw line tries an off-the-dribble “Steve Nash special” to Turiaf running the baseline, but it hits Turiaf on the foot and goes four rows deep. Alexi Lalas sees this and offers Turiaf a three-year, $10 million deal.

13) 3rd Quarter, 2:54, 76-65 Lakers.
Early in the clock Kobe ends up with the ball at the top of the key, while down low Bynum flashes through the lane with pretty good position, so Kobe tries to reward him with a lob pass but it was too high and poorly timed.

14) 3rd Quarter, 2:02, 78-67 Lakers. Odom has the ball on the right wing extended and passes out to Kobe at the top of the arc, who quickly passes to Luke on the left wing. While the play shifts cross court the defenders go with it but Odom floats on the back side then cuts to the basket for a back-door ally-oop from Walton, but Odom can’t quite catch it, and it falls to Jefferson.

15) 4th Quarter, 9:52, 87-73 Lakers.
Kobe comes off a high screen from Bynum on the wing and passes to Farmar who is cutting baseline, but Farmar dribbles it on the end line for a turnover.

16) 4th Quarter, 5:47, 92-84 Lakers. With 15 on the shot clock Kobe gets the ball out at the top of the key with Gerald Green on him and decides to go at the youngster, spinning around him into the lane and drawing the help defender, who comes off Mihm. So, Kobe tries a close-quarters bounce pass to Mihm but it’s at his feet and skips out of bounds.

17) 4th Quarter, 3:33, 96-89 Lakers. With 17 on the clock Odom has the ball at the top of the key while Walton fights for position deep in the lane against Buckner, and while he gets the pass from Odom he also picks up the offensive foul.

18) 4th Quarter, 2:50, 96-89 Lakers.
Fisher comes off a high screen from Mihm where both defenders try to trap Fish but he gets around them long enough to see Walton free along the baseline cutting under the basket and he hits him with a great pass. Since Mihm’s man went with Fish, Mihm rolled to the basket and Walton sees him and throws it to Mihm for what should be an easy dunk but Mihm had borrowed Kwame’s hands for the night and fumbled it out of bounds.

to Anatomy of a Turnover

  1. 9) “…Bynum blocks a Turiaf shot…” Is this really what you meant?


  2. No, thanks, I made a change (but I forget whose shot that was and I erased the game). Late night posts lead to more errors like that from me. Sorry.

    Although, for the record, I bet Bynum could block a Turiaf shot if he wanted to.


  3. Heh, if Kobe was seven feet all…

    Turnovers are probably going to be a problem for awhile. At least Kobe is a big contributor there, so he won’t get high and mighty. Hopefully.


  4. Quiet practice for trainer Gary Vitti.

    An unusual scene, to be sure.

    All 15 Lakers were on the practice court, healthy, Sunday at the team training facility. Kwame Brown didn’t sit out because of his heel, Maurice Evans wasn’t bothered by his back, and Lamar Odom felt no ill effects in his shoulder, just in case his 18-point, 10-rebound effort Friday against Minnesota didn’t already prove the point.

    Fifteen players, none of them watching from the sidelines while bouncing a ball absent-mindedly between their legs. For once, it was a quiet practice for trainer Gary Vitti.

    “It’s the first time in a long time,” Brown said. “It feels good to have everybody out there — you’ve got three teams of five. It was cool, a good little run out there today.”


  5. off topic, but worth mentioning:

    Yesterday night (11th November) in a basketball game (Jerusalem vs. Hapoel Holon) in Jerusalem (Israel), at least than 2 minutes to end the game, an unidentified expectator thrown a home made firecracker to the court. One of the court assistants saw it just in front of visitors bench.
    It exploded and Yoav Glitzenstein (the court assistant)has lost 3 fingers in his right hand.

    Miki Dorsman, President and coach of Hapoel Holon, has said ” The fire cracker could have killed somebody. I’ll leave all my positions in Hapoel Holon and I’ll never coach in Israel again if this isn’t investigated”.

    I’ve just seen the video in the TV and its just horrible.

    couple links to see pictures:

    try to catch the video. if i found it in the net ill post it.
    If you thought Pistons-Pacers brawl was awfull… this will change your mind


  6. Xavier, I saw that on True Hoop as well. Unbelievable, and horrible.


  7. The Lakers are going to have a fair amount of turnovers throughout this season, but I think they’ll work it out gradually, until they are right around the middle of the league in this category. They are pushing the ball more and going out of their way to make the extra pass. These are good things that will ultimately help them to win ballgames, but they also lead to more botched posessions.

    The young players are turning the ball over because they are trying too hard, which is a problem you can live with… for a while anyway. Kobe turns the ball over because he dribbles too much. He has been in the league long enough that we shouldn’t expect any major changes there. But, if he would accept a few less challenges from his defender and make a few more passes out of the double team, it would help the Lakers tremendously.


  8. I would say that #7 was a “good” turnover, that was a great pass but Radman and Bynum both thought it was for the other guy. I thought it was for Bynum, actually.


  9. 8. It may have been, I wasn’t totally sure. Neither were they, apparently.

    I think DMo is right in that the turnovers off the extra pass don’t bother me as much, and there were a few where it was a good idea just not well executed. And the team is still clearly adjusting to the faster pace. (By the way, the two teams with the lowest turnover percentages in the league so far? Phoenix and Golden State. Says something about the quality of their ball handlers.)


  10. This post is a great example of why I love this blog. You aren’t going to find this kind of spontaneous analysis anywhere else, but it’s an excellent insight into a big issue for the team and is of great interest to us fans. Good work.

    I agree with some of what’s been said about many of these being “good turnovers.” Its the beginning of the season and a lot of these passes won’t go awry as guys get used to each other, expect the passes, etc.

    Hard week for the team- hope the energy and effort the team’s been putting in pays off in one of these games.


  11. This is off topic but here are the ESPN power rankings. I found what they said about LA kind of funny.

    “Odom is back and Kobe sure doesn’t look distracted, averaging 30 points, eight rebounds and five assists. But we probably should note that the schedule has been helpful early. Check it out from now to Thanksgiving.”

    Houston, Suns, Jazz, NO, were the first 4 games (all teams ranked above the Lakers in the power rankings). Thats helpful! What team has had a tougher opening schedule. But they are right about one thing it only gets worst.


  12. Mike in the Mountain West November 12, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    Speaking of the schedule, the last two and half months are pretty extreme. The team basically spends the whole month of Febuary on the road with 13 of 16 games away from home (this includes the January 31st game), starting with a 9 game road stretch. Then we end the season by playing 10 of the last 14 at home.

    All-in-all I think ending the season with a nice stretch of home games is worth almost any other scheduling price we have to pay. Going into the playoffs with momentum is going to be very important to this team.


  13. Mike in the Mountain West November 12, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    Just for fun I checked the schedules for the rest of the league and found out we are tied with San Antonio for the longest road trip of the season at 9 games.

    I also checked the Staples Center website and there isn’t anything scheduled for the first two weeks of Febuary. Anyone have any idea why?


  14. San Antonio is a great team and they turn the ball over a lot. The difference is that they play an intense game and they bait the other into playing their style. So trunovers are fine if you can get the other team to play a herky jerky grind it out style.


  15. Actually, this year SA has cut way down on the turnovers, just 14.4% of their possessions (third lowest in the league so far). Last year they were 6th lowest percentage in the league, in 2006 it was 13th.


  16. the other Stephen November 12, 2007 at 5:35 pm

    14. i was under the impression that san antonio has one of the lowest turnover rates in the league. same with phoenix, dallas, and detroit. that’s one of the marks of an experienced, strong team.


  17. 11, Stein hates the Lakers and has always been critical as long as I can remember.


  18. This is a young team and Phil says he wants to ‘change their strips’ and make them more up-tempo, therefore, the turnovers at the beginning of the year don’t bother me as much. Except, it is the vets (Kobe, Fisher, Walton) who are the ones credited with most of the turnovers. Well, perhaps the younger players aren’t really expecting the ball, but some of the wild passes and passes into traffic don’t seem to be too smart.

    I think the vets need to learn that, starting out, the best passes are the simple ones – until the younger players become more experienced. I hope Phil is emphasizing this. One thing that ‘bugs’ me about Phil is that when his vets make mistakes he gives them a longer leash than he would the younger guys. The problem with that is the vets are supposed to know what they are doing and be able to be disciplined without falling apart and the youngsters have to stay in the game to learn from their mistakes. This may cost us some games early, but will increase the number of vets later in the year.


  19. great stuff. love this kind of analysis or breakdown. i hope to see this turnover breakdown become a regular part of this blog until the lakers stop being so TO prone.


  20. Are the Lakers a playoff team? Although I like what I see from the team, looking at the top heavy Western Conference, unless a team has an unfortunate injury and the Lakers don’t, I’m not sure I see it….Remember, the Lakers two impressive wins came against teams on the second night of their first back to backs of the season, always an unlikely victory for the team on the back to back….

    The West (injury free) teams that are better than the Lakers (not in absolute order):

    New Orleans

    That’s seven – so it leaves an 8 spot, and the team that the Lakers will do battle with, in my opinion, is Portland, who, despite the loss of thier rookie Odom, are very deep.

    Anyway, my predicition is the Lakers battle with Portland and possibly the Clippers (who if they can hover around .500 until Brand comes back could finish with 44-45 wins) and maybe Memphis for that final spot.

    So the season will be an exciting battle for the 8th spot…..


  21. Just for laughs, the all star Lakers bloopers squad.

    At center, Kwame “Butterfingers” Brown also known as bursitis
    At power forward, Brian “towel in your face” Cook
    At small forward, “Snowboard man”
    At shooting guard, Sasha “practice shot” Vujacic
    And, finally making a special appearance at point guard, Smush “pick and roll?” Parker


  22. diadaro,
    Although, using traditional measurements, you have the Lakers pegged about right, you are looking at known players and quantities. As the season plays out there are two unknown factors that impact each and every year. 1) injuries always impacts some of the contenders and 2) young and growing players appear on the scene and older players drop off as the year goes on.

    The Lakers are in somewhat good shape for each contingency: 1) with all the injuries last year to players 2-6 we have had to play a lot of younger players and 2) those players now can continue to grow this year.

    I think the Lakers are better than their traditional measurement because of the number of experienced young players on the squad and – of course – Kobe. This guarantees nothing, but it does give us hope when all the pundits are writing the team off.


  23. Craig W,
    The Lakers have the issue of a number of players with a history of injuries, though. That increases the chance that they will be hit harder (relative to the “average” team) with injuries.


  24. 20) Diadaro,
    I agree that the Lakers will likely be fighting for the 7th/8th spots; and would be lucky to get 50 wins. With the makeup of their team, though, it isn’t unreasonable to hope that they will improve more throughout the season than the rest of the contenders. They have a number of young players and players that were not involved last year because of injuries that are important components of their rotation. If those players contribute reasonably well this year (Mihm, Vlad), and improve as they gain experience (Bynum, Farmar, Turiaf, possibly Walton is in that group), they could be dangerous come playoff time. And definitely by next season.


  25. the other Stephen November 13, 2007 at 12:54 am

    they have to improve now, yo. i would go down and work out with bynum and farmar myself if i had to.


  26. off topic:

    10 points why you should follow euroleague
    count me in point n.9
    you’ll find me in every single Joventud de Badalona game they play home cheering my team


  27. ops, that anonymous was me, try to fix it if you can Kurt, I’m not on my computer
    I’m sorry about that


  28. Oh well, don’t we all have our clubs? Too bad Portugal is NOT represented in the Euroleague…

    But yep, we have passion about our clubs… I think it has to do with historical reasons, but also social reasons.

    For instance, in Lisbon, the lower classes or the less rich all support Benfica, while Sporting is the team for the upper-classes. In-town rivalries and country rivalries intensify the feeling we have for the game (football, basketball, volleyball, whatever…) and we start to belong to a club. Then you have the Firms (most of them are violent) but still you get some nice chants and colour in the game…

    I really can’t explain it more accurately.

    About the TO issue with the Lakers… Didn’t see the game 🙁 Won’t comment until I’m able to see a FULL game.


  29. diadaro. I’m not sold on Denver. On paper they look more talented than the Lakers, (mello, AI, Martin) but I don’t think they are really that much better. They don’t play any better defense than the Lakers, and so far the Lakers offense looks better. I think both the Lakers and Denver only go as far as their defense takes them.


  30. exhelodrvr,
    You are absolutely right about the injury quotient on the Laker squad. That is why it is so important that we moved LO to SF and don’t give him the PFs to guard – they beat him up so badly that he is injured. That is also why Walton belongs to the 2nd squad – he heals slowly so we need him against those players he can dominate and who have to adjust to him. This year it appears both of those circumstances will come to pass so I forecast fewer injury games lost. Kwame will be Kwame – injurywise I fear – and that will be a problem against the big centers of the league.

    Denver is built on people who have established reputations operating separately and are also on the downside of their careers – except Melo – and therefore I don’t see the development upside to that team that I do with the Lakers.