You must take care of the ball if you want to win. Obviously, those players who have the ball on their hands for the most time and play for teams that run fast-paced offenses with many possessions are more prone to turn the ball over.
Still, superstars must limit their turnovers if they want to have a chance to win an NBA Championship. At least in most cases. However, there are teams that make a great job taking care of the ball even though their playmakers are turnover-prone.
But who are the players that have turned the ball over more times per game this season? And how have they and their teams fared throughout the NBA season? Let’s break it down with the help of the stats ESPN has piled up thus far:
10. Zach LaVine (3.4)
Zach LaVine is one of the most prolific scorers in the league right now. His offensive game is almost flawless, although his defense has a lot of catching up to do. In that same matter, he must improve his decision-making to avoid turning the ball over.
Zach is averaging 3.4 turnovers per game this season, which is the same number he averaged last year. However, he was on pace of breaking his own record of 215 turnovers from last season, as he had already 206 mistakes before the Bulls’ campaign was cut short.
9. Ben Simmons (3.6)
Ben Simmons continues to improve as a playmaker and ballhandler, which is a scary thought for the rest of the league. Nevertheless, he’s also turning the ball over more often every single year of his career, which is also worth noticing.
Simmons is averaging 8.2 assists per game which is great, but those 3.6 turnovers a night really hurt his overall efficiency. If he starts taking more care of the ball (he’s got 192 TOs already) and develops a somewhat consistent jump shot, he’d be an elite player in no time.
8. Andre Drummond (3.6)
It’s not usual to see big men average as many turnovers as Andre Drummond. Unless, of course, they’re the focal point of an offense like Shaquille O’Neal was. But let’s not fool anybody, Andre Drummond is not the second coming of Shaq.
Drummond is one of the most dominant rebounders in the game but he needs to improve his ball-handling a lot. He often puts the ball on the floor when he shouldn’t and is prone to committing offensive fouls on every drive. He finished the season with a career-high 203 turnovers.
7. Giannis Antetokounmpo (3.7)
Giannis Antetokounmpo has improved his numbers in terms of points and rebounds every single year he’s been on the league. Unfortunately, that trend also applies to his turnovers, which continue to rise as seasons go by, and that’s kind of worrying.
Giannis has made great strides as ball-handler and playmaker and he touches the ball on almost every possession of his team so it’s normal to see that high turnover number. At least, he won’t top his personal-worst 268 mistakes from last season this time.
6. Devin Booker (3.9)
Devin Booker continues to prove that he’s one of the most proficient and efficient scorers in the league. He’s also had to embrace the playmaking duties on his Phoenix Suns team more often than what he’d like to, so those turnovers keep piling up.
Booker has the ability to run the point if needed but he’s way more comfortable playing off the ball, that’s pretty clear. Thus far, he’s racked up a career-worst 244 turnovers (3.9 per game). That’s what happens when you – literally – have to do everything for your team if you want to win.
5. LeBron James (4.0)
LeBron James is one of the greatest basketball masterminds of all-time. He’s got unprecedented basketball IQ, top-notch vision, and some of the most prolific playmaking kills this game has ever seen. However, he’s always been turnover-prone.
James is used to running his team’s offense so that shouldn’t come as a surprise. In fact, he’s currently leading the league in assists (10.6) on his first season playing as the Lakers’ full-time point guard. On a negative note, he’s got 239 turnovers already.
4. Luka Doncic (4.2)
Luka Doncic took the league by storm in the blink of an eye. Nobody expected him to be that good that fast and he made sure to prove all his doubters wrong. He’s an elite offensive talent that could be in the MVP conversation a couple of years from now.
But, him being such a young player, there’s clearly still plenty of areas where he could improve, like defense, three-point shooting, and taking care of the ball. He’s already got 227 turnovers after committing 247 mistakes during his Rookie of the Year campaign.
3. Russell Westbrook (4.5)
There are two certain things about Russell Westbrook. One, he’ll always try to beat everybody one-on-one. Two, he’ll push the ball up the court every single time he has the rock on his hands. That’s just the way he plays and no one will ever change that.
Westbrook is arguably the fastest player in the league so he loves an up-tempo offense with a lot of possessions. That means he’s also prone to turning the ball over more often than the average player. He’s already got 236 turnovers this season and has led the league in that stat 3 different times.
2. James Harden (4.5)
Most teams would be in a lot of trouble when their starting backcourt and two biggest stars combine for 9 turnovers per game. Then again, Mike D’Antoni’s Houston Rockets aren’t like most teams, that’s just the way their offense is designed.
James Harden has often been among the league’s leaders in turnovers. In fact, he’s led the league in that regard five teams, including last season. He’s already got 273 turnovers this season and that’s considering he often gets away with travels and double-dribbles.
1. Trae Young (4.8)
Trae Young also loves to push up the pace. He’s got the rock on his hands through every single one of his team’s possessions and loves to take risks with bold moves and crafty passes. Unfortunately, that often translates into turning the ball over.
Young had 308 turnovers during his rookie season, which was the fourth-worst mark in the league. Now, he’s taken James Harden down as the league’s leader in that infamous stat. He turned the ball over 289 times this season and he only played 60 games, so he better work on that in the offseason.