We trust you guys have been following former CelticsHub writer Zach Lowe’s new blog over at SI called The Point Forward He’s been keeping close tabs on the NBA and unsurprisingly has kept the microscope on the C’s turnover problem, one of his notorious pet peeves about this team.
So it comes without surprise that Zach just had a great post today at The Point Forward dissecting the C’s turnover problem and found the team’s main perpetrator in the (transition) turnover game….and the answer may surprise you: Is it really all Rajon Rondo’s fault? It appears most of it is (at least in the transition game) The half court game? That’s a whole other can of worms with plenty of blame to go around. For now though, Zach talks transition:
Only one team, the Timberwolves, turned the ball over more in transition than Boston, which coughed it up on 13.8 percent of all fast-break opportunities. Most teams turn the ball over on about 10.5 percent of their transition chances. Boston’s stat is awful because it rarely runs and produces wonderful looks when it does run and manage to avoid turning over the ball. The Celtics ranked 15th in points per possession in transition, suggesting they are an efficient fast-break team — except for the turnovers.
After watching all 197 of Boston’s transition turnovers (no, really. I did. And it was torture) from last season, there is one uncomfortable yet inescapable conclusion:
It is largely Rajon Rondo’s fault. To be clear, he is a fantastic player whose creativity fuels just about all of Boston’s half-court offense, and he is excellent at one specific transition play — dribbling into the foul line area and shoveling the ball to a trailing three-point shooter. His expertise on this play could single-handedly prolong Ray Allen’s career. But the rest of his transition game needs lots and lots of work.
The overall Synergy stats back me up: Rondo produced just 0.99 points per possession on fast breaks he finished (with a turnover or a shot, mostly), a mark that ranked 245th in the league. Official scorers blamed Rondo for 73 of those 197 turnovers (37 percent), but it was really worse than that. Many turnovers assigned to others were actually Rondo’s fault.
A couple more items of note from Zach’s piece. The C’s struggled largely with pick and rolls:
On pick-and-roll plays in which the ball-handler finished the play, only eight teams turned the ball over more often than Boston last season. This would seem to point the finger at Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce, who serve most often as the ball-handler in these situations.
Zach also breaks down the other parts of the C’s game in great depth that cause the ballhandling woes and the other culprits within the offense. Any surprises in there? I know there were a few for me, so go read for yourself at The Point Forward