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How new Warriors coach Steve Kerr could address ‘huge concern’ of too many turnovers

Former Arizona coach Lute Olson remembered the amazing statistic from Steve Kerr.

While playing point guard in his senior year with the Wildcats in 1988, Kerr committed only 36 turnovers in 38 games and at one point played 13 straight games without a turnover.

That mistake-free mindset is one Kerr is expected to bring to the Warriors, who announced his hiring Monday.

“I watched Warriors a lot because of (former Arizona player Andre) Iguodala, and I think the biggest problem is they had too many turnovers, too many careless passes,” Olson said. “We always pitched at U of A that if it’s going to take a great pass to get it there, you probably shouldn’t throw it. Be patient, and make a big pass that’s going to be completed.

“He’s not going to allow the careless turnovers that I’ve seen them make, and many of them are attempts at great passes. I just don’t believe in great passes.”

The Warriors’ offense was run by point guard Stephen Curry, who was second-to-worst in the NBA averaging 3.8 turnovers per game for his career low. The team ranked 27th in the NBA averaging 14.9 turnovers per game this season and then 17.3 turnovers while losing its first-round playoff series to the Los Angeles Clippers.

“When you’re next to last in the league in turnovers, that’s a huge concern,” Warriors executive board member Jerry West told Sirius XM last week. “You can’t play defense when you make turnovers.”

Said Curry earlier this month: “It’s shown as a team if we take care of the ball — me in particular — valuing each possession and especially in the playoffs, it kind of eats away at me. Two games we had high turnovers, and we still had a chance to win. Had we been a little bit smarter with the ball, what would have happened? I didn’t sleep well after those games with that feeling.”

Diamond Leung

  • Dave Awesome

    Great article.

  • craig.w

    There are relatively high risk passes that are worth it. If you can thread a pass to someone for an uncontested dunk, it’s a good move if it’s turned over a third of the time, but results in a dunk two-thirds of the time. That’s 67% FG. Doesn’t look good on the stat sheet, but is a winning play, especially if the turnover is not one that gives the opponent an easy basket.

    Curry is amazing at finding hidden guys who are open and getting the ball to them with passes that are totally unexpected, at least by me. Some of those are acceptable risks, and some aren’t. He already has the vision and creativity to be the best assist man in the league. His growth as a playmaker will be his decision-making – assessing the relative risks and foregoing those that are too risky. Kerr can help with that. In fact, anybody smart and observant could have helped with that last season.

    The other thing that drives me crazy is when the Warriors get on a turnover roll – where they commit turnovers multiple times in a row – and not just Curry. Somebody needs to tell them that if there’s a turnover, be cautious about your passes until the contagion passes.

  • DrayDray

    I think if you’re gonna play percentages(1st paragraph) then you’ll also have to factor in the points off turnovers. Seems like in the playoffs it always ended up with a score or a foul of even a score and a foul. I would never look at it your way however, he needs to take that left-handed hook pass out of his repertoire. It was a killer all year. If we had better ball movement we’d be okay. 2 easy passes could get it to the same place with better spacing

  • Howard Benner

    I think evaluating Curry as potentially “the best assist man in the league” is heaping it on a bit. . .with his improved ability to get his own shot, his improved handle & under the tutelage of Steve Kerr & his new assistant coaches Curry can become a more fundamentally sound 1.

    The main concern is installing a more effective but more complicated offense. Mark Jax’s was renowned as probably the most simplistic in the league. Perhaps this was done to bring Curry, Thomspon & Barnes along. But this worked against the W’s as they had the easiest offense to game plan for &, when the W’s got out to a lead or the offense was humming easier for the opposition to adjust to. . .

    They will probably go to a more ball movement oriented, motion type offense what will create space to increase efficiency & effectivity & create options based on how the defense responds to their flow. . .

    Oh, start playing defense with your feet & not your hands! The fact the W’s are fundamentally a mediocre defensive team known to reach & grab hastens the refs to blow the whistle. . .

  • coltraning

    well, almost all the great PGs, from Magic to Kidd to Nash to Rondo were high risk/high reward passers. exceptions that jump out are Stockton and CP3, who tended to make more prudent but equally effective passes. It was very surprising to see that Jackson was not able to address that with Curry, since Jackson was in the prudent passer mode of effective PGs. I’d like very much to see Kerr get Curry to do address that. A lot of it is the KIND of turnover. Many of Curry’s TOs are live ball ones where he is the last line of defense. Better to throw it out of bounds if you are trapped, rather than a desperate in the air cross court…Dre and Lee and Curry all are guilty of the too cute and too difficult pass, so hope that gets dealt with…