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Does Daniels Solve the Turnover Crisis?

 

After the Celtics turned the ball over just three times in the first half yesterday against Orlando, Greg Payne of CelticsBlog tweeted a question: Did the return of Marquis Daniels, the C’s steady back-up point guard/shooting guard/small forward, have something to do with the decline in Boston’s turnovers?

I had been wondering the same thing before the game. Here are the C’s turnover figures in games with and without Daniels, not including Sunday’s loss to Orlando.

With Daniels (19 games): 15.1 turnovers per game

Without Daniels (28 games): 16.1 turnover per game

That’s not much, but it’s also not nothing. If the C’s season-long turnover average were 16.1 per game, they’d be leading the league in turnovers per game despite playing a very slow pace. Cut out one turnover, and the C’s would rank about 20th in raw turnovers per game—still bad, but not far from league average.

Of course, Golden State turning the ball over 15 times per game isn’t the same as Boston turning the ball over 15 times per game; the Warriors play fast and use about nine more possessions than the C’s, so if the teams’ raw turnovers are equal, it means Golden State—Golden freaking State!—takes better care of the ball than Boston. (And they do).

But let’s get back to the Daniels Effect.

Does his presence make a difference? Maybe. One fewer turnover per game is (I think) statistically significant. The sample size here (47 games) is small enough that the one-turnover difference could just be random, but Daniels has always had a very low turnover rate—certainly a lower rate than Tony Allen and Rajon Rondo, two of the guys who handle the ball more often with the second unit in Daniels’ absence.

But let’s be generous and assume that the one-turnover drop is in fact due to Daniels’ care for the basketball. That’s nice, but it’s clear that Marquis alone doesn’t turn the Celtics into a low-turnover team. A team that plays as slow a pace as does Boston shouldn’t cough the ball up 15.1 times per game.

And Sunday’s debacle against Orlando underscored that Marquis is not going to solve this issue—not even close. The second unit didn’t commit a turnover until Tony Allen traveled with four seconds remaining in the 3rd quarter. That was Boston’s 11th turnover of the game and their eighth of that hideous 3rd quarter.

The rest? The starters committed those.

So, yes, welcome back the Grand Marquis and all the unique skills he brings—the ball-handling, the knack for making the right off-the-ball-cut, the ability to post up smaller defenders and an uncanny resistance to pump fakes.

But don’t expect Boston to suddenly become the Hawks in terms of turnovers. For that to happen, everyone else on the team has to value the ball like Marquis does.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Not sure about Quis & the TO effect, but the Orlando game really got under my skin. It was so odd. We won 3 out of the 4 quarters and still lost.

    Sun Tzu says ‘you just gotta know your enemy, Holmes.’ Orlando is #6 in the association in 3s. That is no accident. They want that shot. They crave that shot. They gots to have it, and let’s face it, it is much more damaging than a Dwight slam any day. I wouldn’t care how many dunks Dwight had if the Cs won. Van Gundy may be whiny, but he is no dummy. He makes them practice it. He wants them to shoot it, a lot. I think you can live with Dwight’s running jump hook, but the 3 barrage is lethal. They stung the Cs making 50% from 3pt line—33 points, many wide open. It actually started in the 2nd quarter with 2 wide open looks for Vinny (Vinny basically made all his 3s from the top of the key, must be his special spot—future reference). The strategy of paying more attention to Dwight & not running people off the 3 pt line was wrong. New Orleans is #10 in 3s ….nudge, nudge, wink, wink. I think we all could live more with the Cs losing by deep 2 jumpers if they would just protect the lane & run guys off the 3pt line.

    I actually have more optimism today because I was thinking about Rondo’s belfry. No, it’s not about bats. He has the brain power to make some meaningful, crucial changes. He constantly wants to get better. You can see his desire to win. He has had a taste of the finals, and it is worse than any drug. He’s gotta have it. The wheels are turning. He is working out the modus operandi of winning. Rondo has more power than what he realizes. He has the ball! He has got to take the next step & recognize the real pig (not the wanna be pig) & the better shot, not the open man. The open man is too easy & is often bait to take the shot the enemy wants you to take ie the lower percentage shot or the struggler’s shot. It is the path of least resistance. You have to work harder to get the better shot & to get the real pig the ball, but it is worth the higher price. It would be great if more selective ball distribution by Rondo would lead to higher team FG%s since some guys have no conscience.

    When these 30 pt quarters are happening the first thing that has to happen is recognition by Rajon. Rondo has to realize what is going on & get the Cs a HIGH percentage shot either for himself or for a teammate CLOSER TO THE RIM. Part of this is to fly down the court faster than ever when the Cs are in death spiral mode & look for that easy shot. Walking the ball up is taking Rondo’s speed out of play & giving the defense an unearned advantage. When these leads are dwindling the opposition has already figured out the Cs offense. Reality=the Cs are not shooting the ball well from 3 this year, especially Ray & Sheed, so you gotta resist that easy, wide open pass to them for the 3 & focus on getting the ball paintward when the game is getting away (if Ray is having a hot night than he is the pig). Rondo has to recognize, in the moment, when these point famines are taking hold & get a high percentage shot. Also, the rest of the team has to rub some calamine on the jump shot itch, temporarily shelf the jumper fest, & try their best to get to the foul line (and not by going 1 on 3).

    KG made some mental blunders which are just not KGish. He was 3-3 from the line, but failed to put maximal effort in getting to the line more. He had opportunities. It is especially important to get to the line to try and change the tempo of a game heading in the wrong direction. Shard played so close to KG that they could have been a Siamese twin. It was very smart on Shard’s part to bring the heat & frustrate KG’s ability to pass & shoot. It worked because KG was unwilling to follow the age old rule of take the ball to the rim when a guy is all up in your grill. His lack of aggression made it easier for Shard to guard him, & it gave Dwight a get out of jail free pass in the lane. Dwight has 4 fouls & nobody is putting pressure on Dwight. The idea is not so much to make a shot as much as it is to draw the foul. It’s a different mindset where you don’t try to avoid Dwight. On the contrary, you greedily look for a way to get close to Dwight, show him the ball, & bait him into a foul. If the past is any clue, Dwight doesn’t have a lot of restraint.

    Many opportunities to hit Perk with a sweet pass after drawing 2 to 3 magicians were completely missed. The Cs (non Rondo) gotta look to pass the ball rimward first before passing it outward. On Paul’s under his own basket turnover 2 bad things happened. #1 Paul missed Perk cutting into the lane. #2 Ray & Rondo both missed cutting TOWARD the corner to give Paul a better passing angle. Paul was surrounded in the lane, but there was no cavalry. This happens to Perk also. He gets surrounded & desperate & it’s TO time. The rest of the team HAS to do a much better job of BAILING guys out in the post by MOVING closer into the trapped man’s line of vision. Moving yourself to give a teammate a better passing angle is a very teeny tiny thing, but everything must be done by everybody to help stomp out these turnovers. Seriously, Perk is very vulnerable so the rest of the team has to help him out by #1 not passing it to Perk too far out of the lane where he has to dribble a lot to get a good shot #2 having HYPER awareness of Perk’s lane situation & moving themselves to give Perk an easy passing outlet should he get stymied.

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