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.