Turnovers are often an issue for young teams, and the Los Angeles Lakers are no different. The Lakers are second-to-last in the league in both turnovers per game (18.3) and turnover percentage (18.3 percent). A carelessness with the ball has contributed to the team ranking 28th in the league in offensive efficiency, scoring just 97.4 points per 100 possessions.
Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton doesn’t want that carelessness to become a habit, and he spoke about why to Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times:
“One of the characteristics we want to have is that we value the ball and we don’t turn it over very often, especially on the road,” Walton said. “Unfortunately this road trip has not been good for that. That makes it really hard to win when you turn over that much and obviously throw the free throws on top. You still have your chance, but you’ve got to play a pretty perfect game besides that.”
The Lakers have not played pretty perfect games other than that, which is why the team has dropped to 5-8 after beginning the season 5-5 behind a shockingly stout defense. The team’s defense has regressed a bit since that hot start without enough offensive improvement to counterbalance it, and as a result the team is now on a three-game losing streak.
The good news for Los Angeles moving forward is that rookie point guard Lonzo Ball has not been part of the turnover epidemic, displaying an efficiency rarely seen in young players.
Ball leads the Lakers in assists (7.4) but has not let the volume of his passing impact the amount of times he coughs up the ball. While Ball does lead the Lakers in raw turnovers per game (2.6), he turns the ball over the fourth-least of any player on the roster by turnover percentage, and his 2.82 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks ahead of the likes of John Wall, Stephen Curry, and Mike Conley.
If Ball can produce that efficiently on what is otherwise an incredibly turnover-prone, shooting-starved offense, he’ll likely fare even better once he’s on a better roster. That won’t solve the Lakers’ turnover problems right now, but it is unquestionably a good sign for the team’s future.
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