“It's like that old cartoon where you try to plug one hole and a bear or something has bullet holes in him. With our team, it's like you work on one thing and the next day another thing pops up. You try to fix that problem and the next day another thing pops up.”
It's the “sloppy” turnovers that Brooks wants his team to cut down. Those are most readily seen in the careless plays which end in a player losing the ball due to a steal (21 turnovers) or stepping out of bounds (12 turnovers).
In year's past, Brooks said he preferred his team to remain around 13 or 14 turnovers. Turns out that was a pipe dream.
“I think I've changed my opinion on that. I made a mistake and I'm moving on,” Brooks said, only half-jokingly. “I think 14 1/2 to 15 is a number we can (live with). I mean, we are a fast team, we're an athletic team, we're a creative team and we have multiple ballhandlers and decision-makers. So I think under 15 is a good number, and that's probably middle of the pack.”
In last year's postseason, the Thunder proved it could take care of the ball. OKC averaged just 11.6 turnovers, ranking third among the 16 playoff teams. Oddly enough, that's when Brooks stopped talking about turnovers — a trick he could revert to any day now.
“That's the only thing I haven't done this year,” Brooks said. “In the playoffs I didn't talk about it, obviously because we weren't turning it over. So maybe I should stop talking about it. So if you guys (in the media) would work with me a little bit and quit asking me questions.”
Kevin Durant, who leads the team with 4.8 turnovers, has another idea.
“As far as turnovers,” he said, “I think we've got the right intentions but we've just got to be stronger with the ball and make better passes — and keep the ball out of my hands.”
“That's not going to happen,” Brooks said. “I maybe not the smartest coach, but I'm not that dumb.”
A look at the various ways the Thunder has turned the ball over this season.
Bad pass: 41
Lost ball/stolen: 21
Offensive fouls: 18
Lost ball/out of bounds: 12
Shot clock violation: 4
Offensive goaltending: 2
Double dribble: 1
3-second violation: 1
Backcourt violation: 1