Both the Sixers and the Chicago Bulls are coming off close losses, the Sixers in a 24 turnover, complete collapse against the Memphis Grizzlies and, the Bulls in a 2OT game in which the New Orleans Pelicans’ DeMarcus Cousins put up a historic stat line of 44-24-10. At 18-29, the Bulls appear to be a perfect opponent against which the Sixers could continue their trend of successful Januarys. We would have said the same thing about the Grizzlies. Instead, the Sixers are looking to correct the mistakes that caused that loss and get the turnovers under control.
Coming into tonight’s game the Sixers are last in the league in turnovers, with an average of 18.3 turnovers per game. On Monday’s game against the Grizzlies, they committed 24 turnovers and had a turnover percentage of 21.4%. Sixteen of those turnovers came in the second half, more turnovers than eight teams had in their entire games that day. Luckily, the Bulls are worse than the Grizzlies in the opponent turnover battle, coming up 29th in opponent TOV% to the Grizzlies 7th.
According to Cleaning The Glass, the average turnover percentage across the league is 14.93%. The Sixers sit at the bottom of that list with an average of 18% of possessions ending in turnovers, a full 1.9% higher than Denver who comes in at 29th. In games where the Sixers have a turnover percentage of less than 16% this season, still above the league average, their record is 9-4 and two of those losses are to the Cavaliers and Warriors.
As the two main point guards for the Sixers, the biggest offenders of these turnovers are TJ McConnell and Ben Simmons, as expected. They turn the ball over in 20.2% and 18.3% of their possessions respectively. There is turnover data for 756 of the Sixers 785 turnovers available on NBA.com. Of those 756 turnovers, 48% of them are attributable to bad passes. Of those bad passes, 48% were committed by either Simmons or McConnell. They are also the only two members of the Sixers with an Assist:Usage ratio of greater than one. This shows that they are gifted at creating points for themselves and others. Imagine if they can just clean up a fraction of those bad passes, and turn them into points instead of turnovers.
McConnell won’t be in the lineup tonight against the Bulls for personal reasons, so Simmons will have to shoulder more of the play-making responsibility. If the Sixers want to come out of this game victorious, Simmons cleaning up his passes could go a long way.
Game Time: 7:00 pm
TV: NBCSports Philadelphia
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic