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The Price Of A Turnover

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I like to look at scoring rates on "effective possessions," which are possessions that do not end in a turnover, to get an idea of which teams help or hurt themselves with ball security or the lack thereof.

In-Conf Pts/ePoss TO% Pts/Poss
Duke 1.34 (1) 17.2 (3) 1.11 (1)
VT 1.32 (2) 17.6 (6)  1.09 (2)
Clem 1.32 (3) 20.3 (9)  1.05 (4)
Miami 1.31 (4) 20.3 (8) 1.04 (7)
BC 1.28 (5) 16.9 (2) 1.06 (3)
FSU 1.27 (6) 21.5 (11) 1.00 (9)
UMd 1.27 (7) 17.2 (4) 1.05 (5)
UNC 1.26 (8) 17.4 (5) 1.04 (8)
NCSU 1.26 (9) 16.7 (1) 1.05 (6)
GT 1.21 (10) 20.4 (10) 0.96 (10)
UVa 1.15 (11) 18.6 (7) 0.94 (11)
Wake 1.15 (12) 21.9 (12) 0.90 (12)



NC State, for example, has scored 841 on 804 possessions in league play (1.05 pts/poss). Subtract the 134 turnovers they've committed from the possession total and that leaves 670 effective possessions.  Six hundred and seventy trips that resulted in a shot at the basket, in other words. So State has scored 841 points on 670 effective possessions, or 1.26 points per ePoss. Every NC State turnover costs the team 1.26 points.

It's interesting that there isn't much difference between the top four offenses in terms of output per effective possession, but Duke and Virginia Tech separate themselves by turning the ball over a lot less than Clemson and Miami. At the bottom, Virginia and Wake Forest are the same brand of terrible on their effective possessions. Virginia shoots better while Wake grabs more offensive boards and gets to the line more often. The results are nearly identical. UVa's lower turnover rate gives them some separation in terms of overall efficiency. Take heart, Wake Forest: cut down on the turnovers and you could be Virginia!

Not surprisingly for one of the worst shooting teams in the league, NC State's offense isn't very efficient with its effective possessions relative to the rest of the league. However, the Pack takes better care of the ball than anybody else, and that makes their offense competitive overall (6th in offensive efficiency). It's funny how things work out. In Sidney Lowe's first three seasons, State shot very well and turned the ball over a bunch, which brought down their overall efficiency. Now the reverse it true.