T.J. McConnell blames Sixers turnovers on unselfishness
There’s no such thing as good turnovers, but - according to T.J. McConnell - a lot of the Sixers turnovers this season have come from a place of unselfishness – guys just trying to make the right play.
“It comes from being unselfish,” McConnell said of the Sixers turnover troubles. “Some of the turnovers are just trying to make the extra pass, and that’s the kind of guys we have. We’re trying to get the best available shot, but sometimes that’s not the best shot.”
Again, there are no good turnovers, but turnovers born from guys trying to set up their teammates are inherently less egregious – and better for team moral – than turnovers born out of selfishness, or guys trying to force their own action.
“We’ll live with us being unselfish,” McConnell said. “We just have to take care of it.”
On the season, the Sixers lead the entire NBA with 17.0 turnovers per game – an issue that Brett Brown has blamed on youth and inexperience. Considering that the team’s top two culprits when it comes to turnovers are Joel Embiid (3.9 turnovers per game) and Ben Simmons (3.6) – both young players with less than 100 career games of NBA experience – Brown likely has a point.
“We’re up and down. We’re young. We make not-wise decisions at times,” Brown said to media members recently. “We’ve got to get better with some individuals. I think as a team we have to get better. And some of it, I have to own.”
In addition to youth, the Sixers’ style and pace of play also contributes directly to the team’s high turnover total. The Sixers play at the fifth-fastest pace league-wide (101.32), and they also pass the ball more than any other team (344.3 passes per game). Logically, with more possessions and more passes comes more turnovers. Brown seems more than content with this trade-off.
Though the Sixers still have a long way to go when it comes to taking better care of the basketball - especially if they want to compete with the top teams in the East come playoff time - they have been improving in that area. The team’s number of total turnovers per game has dropped each month of 2018 – from 16.7 in January to 15.9 in February to 14.6 in March. Brown is hoping that the trend will continue into April as the Sixers push toward their first postseason berth during his time with the team.
“We’re getting better,” Brown said. “We’re actually trending in a right direction. It’s still a painful part of our young team that we have to improve on.”
Follow Michael Kaskey-Blomain on Twitter @therealmikekb.