Photo Credit: Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports

I didn’t see the point of doing a full “observations” post after last night’s game because it was just a terrible all-around performance.

Let’s just focus on the season-high 27 turnovers and see what we can learn, because that was certainly the takeaway from the 122-97 loss in Brooklyn.

Specifically, we want to know how they’re turning the ball over. Miscommunications happen. Sometimes guys just aren’t on the same page, especially early in the season. But sloppy handles and poor passes are a little more egregious and preventable than other turnover types.

Here are the 27 giveaways, which was more than last year’s season-high of 26, if you can believe it:

  1. Robert Covington throws inbound pass off rim (alley oop attempt)
  2. Ben Simmons loses ball driving to rim off steal
  3. Simmons caught in the air, kick out to perimeter stolen
  4. Dario Saric offensive foul (elbow push off)
  5. Amir Johnson offensive foul (hard back screen)
  6. Simmons loses ball while driving
  7. Johnson bad pass (working JJ Redick DHO action)
  8. Redick out of bounds pass
  9. Joel Embiid on the wrong page with Landry Shamet, bad pass
  10. Mike Muscala offensive rebound, throws ball to Brooklyn while falling out of bounds
  11. Redick bad post entry to Embiid
  12. Covington traveling
  13. Covington offensive foul (hard back screen)
  14. Simmons loses handle pushing ball
  15. Simmons too high on entry pass into post
  16. Covington bad bounce pass in paint
  17. Embiid offensive foul (backing down Allen in the paint)
  18. Muscala bad pass looking for Shamet in the paint
  19. Shamet loses ball on DHO (probably fouled)
  20. Markelle Fultz offensive foul (shoulder)
  21. Redick backcourt (missed Embiid on a DHO return pass)
  22. Embiid pocket picked after defensive rebound
  23. Embiid offensive foul (backing down Allen in the paint)
  24. Muscala bad pass into high post
  25. Covington offensive foul (bit of a high elbow on a screen)
  26. Embiid loses pass on wing
  27. Muscala dribbles ball off foot and out of bounds

That’s a long list, so let’s parse these jawns..

I’ve got 12 bad passes, some of which fundamentally were just poor decisions. There were at least three chest pass attempts that should have been bounce passes. That’s what your 8th grade coach teaches you on day one of summer camp.

The Sixers also logged seven offensive fouls, three of which came on screens, which you could argue were kind of soft. The Dario push off was more significant than Markelle’s push off, and the Embiid post-ups were sort of whatever. You could blow the whistle on almost every wrestling match between bigs.

The other turnovers were a combination of loose handles and just losing the ball in the traffic, true killers like this play:

Good defense and a steal by Ben, then he gets out into a 3v2 in transition and loses the ball driving into two guys instead. Should be an easy dish off to either Fultz or Covington there for a bucket.

Otherwise, there are always a few outliers that don’t really tell the story.

For example, this turnover from last night wasn’t really a turnover, just a scrappy attempt at saving a ball after an offensive rebound:

That gets logged as a turnover on the stat sheet, unfortunately. You can live with that.

And you can live with plays like the one where Embiid and Shamet had a miscommunication on a cut to the basket that ended up not being a cut to the basket.

Simmons driving into multiple guys and losing the handle, plus the sloppy passing in general – those are the ones that really hurt.

It’s true that the Sixers throw more passes than almost every other team in the league, so statistically when you are a high-tempo and mobile passing team, you’re okay with coughing up a few here and there and moving on. They’re not a slow-tempo pick and roll team on the back-end of the total possessions chart.

Annually, you always find about 4-5 teams with winning records that also have a bottom-ten turnover number, and that’s no different this season:

Warriors and Bucks, a combined 17-2, with 15.4 and 16.3 turnovers per game this season. The kicker is that they shoot 52% and 48%, respectively, so the giveaway numbers are wiped out.

Similarly, the Sixers have won plenty of games while turning the ball over an inordinate amount of times. Specifically, you might remember the 118-112 win in Minnesota last year, the one that went to overtime and featured 24 turnovers.

The Sixers were able to minimize those giveaways because they shot 50% and hit 11 of 26 three pointers for a 42.3% mark. They shot 84.4% from the foul line and limited Minnesota to 40.7% from the floor and a pitiful 17% from three. So even though they put up only 80 shots compared to that 108 for the Wolves, they simply just got more out of fewer possessions.

It’s never about turnovers in a vacuum, because the Sixers have shown that they are good enough to overcome those giveaways with good shooting and good defense and good rebounding. Last night, however, they didn’t do anything well.

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  • Please November 5, 2018 at 11:20 am

    Donate your children’s old shoes to Kevin Kevin kincaide… his tiny feet need shelter.

  • The money team November 5, 2018 at 11:34 am

    The Cuz just owned that caller talkin shit on Bret Brown. Love the Cuz!

  • balls across the nose November 5, 2018 at 11:36 am

    surprised you didn’t mention that ugly ass shot from Markelle in the 4th quarter. I really want to believe in the kid can turn it around, but i think he’s mentally screwed up for good. Call it the yips or whatever you want, but he has completely lost any rhythm or flow he had in his game and now it looks like he decides what he wants to do and gets tunnel vision instead of just reacting. They already picked up his option for next year and the shame of it is that he really does do a lot of other things well, but his horrid shot and unwillingness to even take them at times are going to drag him down.

    Same goes for Ben Simmons, who obviously has a much better feel for the game than Fultz and is more physically imposing which allows him to contribute in the box score more often. If he doesn’t find a jumper, then you are really up shit’s creek. He and Embiid are almost unplayable because Simmons defender sags off him so much into the paint that it’s difficult to even make a post-entry pass to Embiid. Fultz was supposed to alleviate those concerns but here we are. It’s why Reddick is the second most important piece on this team due to his floor spacing.

    • Kevin Kinkead November 5, 2018 at 11:41 am

      I put the video clip of that in the Hanlen story. I think they just gotta put JJ back in the starting five and let Markelle run second unit point guard. Him and Simmons are not playable together right now, and Dario can’t hit the broad side of a barn, so you basically have Embiid and Covington as the only guys who can consistently hit anything beyond 5 feet right now.

      • balls across the nose November 5, 2018 at 1:32 pm

        i’m obviously not opposed to more JJ, his shooting has bailed them out a few times this season. The bigger issue is we have two #1 draft pick guards that can’t and/or are unwilling to shoot. We knew what we were getting into with Simmons, but if it gets to around Christmas and Fultz is still playing like this you might as well just play TJ.

        And yeah it might be a better for now to just let Fultz run the second unit as a way to keep the ball in his hands more and force him to become the playmaker they thought they had drafted. Too many times now he just dribbles the ball up court then immediately passes it off and stands in the corner. I hold Brown responsible for that more than Fultz, but something has to give sooner or later.

    • Steve Mason Elite Unemployed NHL Goalie November 5, 2018 at 12:10 pm

      Don’t worry. Simmons is going to be the Lakers’ problem soon enough.

  • So Taguchi - Phillies Legend November 5, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    They led wire-to-wire against Detroit…things were looking up. But theres no salve for that Nets game. That was just…bad. So glad I passed up watching an exciting Saints-Rams game for that nonsense.

    Dario, come back and save us all!

  • Charles Cohen November 5, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Two observations. Underneath the occasional good stats game Covington has not played well especially guarding an elite player. I don’t know why he always gets a pass by Philly fans. And how does the person who was both coach and gm, and who said he closely monitored his players, still gets off the hook? Fultz and Simmons playing together aren’t the central problem. Just watch Dario and Cov try to co-exist. It is so painful to watch try to dribble or pass. From what I observe BB is very similar to Scott Brooks, likeable well spoken but a very uncreative and mediocre coach.

  • Shame November 5, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    The process. Everyone including all NBA coaches and opposing teams and fans want to see it fail. It is failing. The strategy was downright shameful. Shame on us. Throwing games on purpose and still charging the same for a ticket. SHAME ON PHILADELPHIA

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