Live Ball Turnovers vs. Dead Ball Turnovers

Live vs Dead ball turnovers - NBA

As much as we basketball coaches hate giving up turnovers, and love forcing them, not all turnovers are created equal. Dead ball turnovers (like throwing the ball out-of-bounds) result in an inbounds play, while live ball turnovers (like a steal) keep action going.

Defensively, a live ball turnover is more likely to end in a transition basket, while a dead ball turnover begins a set offense possession. The chart at the top of this article shows the PPP (points per possession) value of these different types of turnovers for four NBA seasons (from here). You can see how live ball turnovers are preferred.

How does this apply to your basketball team? In Hoopsalytics, you can see what kind of turnovers you are forcing and giving up from the Game Summary and Game Flow (multiple game) reports. The PPP for each turnover type shows as well, which you can compare to your overall PPP. And the turnovers are video-linked, so you can see how they happened.

Here’s how it looks in the Game Summary:

The above screenshot is from one of the high school demo team games you can explore. You can see how the PPP from possessions starting with a live ball turnover is much greater. And being able to convert on those turnovers can make a huge difference, so this data can help you shape your practices too.

And like everything else in Hoopsalytics, numbers in the box score are linked to video clips of those events. So clicking on “12” above will show the live ball points scored, or live ball possessions for Truckee.

One more thing to consider: Different types of presses also yield different kinds of turnovers. An aggressive full court press should lead to more live ball turnovers, while a trapping half court press likely encourages more dead balls.

This is one of the many things we have been curious about in the game of basketball, and now you can see how your own team compares. Let us know if this is useful for you!


Comments |1|

  • Interesting and great post! Dead ball turnovers give up less ppp than missed shot rebounded by the defensive team, something reflected in data at several levels.
    95% of coaches I speak with talk like ALL turnovers are like contracting Shingles. But the truth is- they aren’t the end of the world- in fact, the data says a dead ball turnover in the NBA is preferred to missing a shot and the defensive team getting a rebound…. And now you know, the rest of the story. Analytics are refreshing! Keep up the great work fellas!


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Category: Analytics