Saturday, August 23, 2014

In Hoops, There are Turnovers, and Then There are Turn-overs – or Are There?

I discovered a useful little statistical anomaly recently – it pertains to turnovers, offensive errors that result in a change of possession.

In box-scores these days, each player’s official miscues (from offensive fouls to ball-handling blunders) are compiled, and frequently fodder for opinion/analysis – of both the saber-metric and bar-stool variety.

But if we look further down in a box-score, we’re also provided a Team Total for Turnovers, as well as the opponents’ offensive benefit therefrom. Often the Team Total for Turnovers is the same as the sum of the players’ individual totals; never is it less than that sum.

However, with some frequency, the Team Turnover Total exceeds the tally of all the players’.

What specifically constitutes such an “unassigned” turnover? A 24- or 10-second violation? If a team is unable to in-bound a dead ball and thus loses a possession, does the unsuccessfully-inbounding player get a “black mark” in the book, or does the Team?

The useful piece of information, at least to this Stat Geek, is that the Total of Team Turnovers (for Opponents, as well) at basketball-reference for the 2014 WNBA regular season includes only TO’s charged to an individual player.

The turnover numbers at’s team sites are higher than those at basketball-reference – and do correspond precisely to these “extra TO’s” cited in the box scores.

For what it’s worth, here’s how the teams rank in committing and causing this type of turnover. Whatever it is, it happened 377 times this season.

Fewest Committed / Most Forced

New York (7) / Phoenix (43)
Atlanta (14) / Los Angeles (42)
Chicago (22) / Atlanta (40)
Minnesota (25) / Connecticut (37)
Phoenix (26) / Indiana (33)
Los Angeles (28) / Seattle (33)
Seattle (36) / Minnesota (30)
Tulsa (39) / New York (28)
Indiana (42) / Tulsa (26)
Washington (44) / San Antonio (25)
Connecticut (47) / Washington (22)
San Antonio (47) / Chicago (18)

You know, I just might have something here – if I only knew what I was talking about.