The Cleveland Cavaliers could have some turnover problems on the offensive end this season. When the season-opener against the Memphis Grizzlies was a one-score game late, turnovers can in bunches for the Cavs. During the preseason, Cleveland averaged a high turnover rate of over 18 per game. The preseason does include many minutes for reserve players that will rarely play in the regular season. However, Cavalier starters were surrendering far too many turnovers during the preseason as well. Could turnovers be a real problem for the Cavaliers this season?
Turnovers were Cleaned Up in Season-Opener
Cleveland took a big step forward in taking care of the ball in the season-opener in Memphis. The Cavs only turned it over 11 times throughout the game, which is good. This is of course a major improvement compared to over 18 turnovers per game in the preseason. At times, both Darius Garland and Ricky Rubio were still too loose with the ball, the two had four combined turnovers. On the other hand, their assist total at 22 combined assists far outweighs the four turnovers.
The issue with the turnovers against the Grizzlies was when they came. It felt like nearly every turnover came at a crucial part of the game, taking place on the absolute worst possessions possible. Turnovers are what truly put the Cavs out of reach late in the game, ending their comeback hopes. Hanging onto the ball was still a major improvement though, J.B. Bickerstaff will live with 11 turnovers in a game.
Whether Cavalier turnovers will be a real issue is ambiguous right now. What takes more weight, only 11 turnovers on the game or turnovers coming at the worst time? What about the preseason turnovers, do those hold any weight? Considering many of the giveaways came from starters and key contributors in the preseason, they do hold some meaning.
The Cavalier Offense is a Work in Progress
Looking ahead, turnovers could and probably will become more of a rarity for the Cavs this season. Cleveland has two good playmaking point guards basically on the floor at all times in Garland and Rubio. Plus, the ball movement overall in Wednesday night’s loss was very impressive. Remember how many new pieces are on this offense. Rubio, Lauri Markkanen and Evan Mobley are players who will all average around 25+ minutes per game this year. They are new Cavaliers and will need some time to mesh with their new teammates.
The amount of true ball handlers on this team is much better than in years past. Garland, Rubio, Collin Sexton, Isaac Okoro and even the multi-talented Mobley can bring the ball up with ease. For the listed reasons, the turnovers will likely become less here soon. The total amount of turnovers to begin the season was fine, they just came at the wrong times. With such a tough schedule coming up, Cleveland is not going to win any games easily and will need to take care of the ball. If the Cavaliers can limit turnovers against many upcoming playoff-caliber opponents and keep the ball under wraps in the clutch, turnovers will become less of a concern.
Featured image courtesy of A.J. Mast/AP
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