We previously took a look at the rebounding issues that plagued the Atlanta Hawks, particularly down the stretch in Wednesday's season opening loss to the Toronto Raptors. Another issue from that game was turnovers. Atlanta turned the ball over 19 times which Toronto turned into 23 points. There are essentially two types of turnovers. Both are bad but one is worse than the other. Dead ball turnovers at least allow teams the opportunity to set their defense at the other end of the floor. Live ball turnovers turn into fast break opportunities which in the NBA is usually a fast break dunk or a wide open look from the three-point line.
There is a couple of different ways to look at the Hawks' turnovers against the Raptors. Some were a bit careless, others were good plays by the defense. Atlanta's spacing didn't appear to be quite as good as normal but its important not to overlook the Raptors as a good defensive team. They did a good job for most of the night at limiting Atlanta's opportunities in the pick and roll and did a pretty good job of jumping the passing lane and closing out on shooters not named Kyle Korver.
Here is the best example of a live ball turnover. Jeff Teague drives into the paint off of Atlanta's pick and roll but Toronto's rotations are sound. Teague makes a bad decision and floats a pass back out in the direction of Kent Bazemore. Terrence Ross breaks on it and the result is a hammer dunk at the opposite end of the floor. It looks like Elton Brand was available for a pass from Teague but Ross did a good job of crashing down hard on the drive. A better pass out probably gets to Bazemore but this was a good job by Toronto's defense nonetheless.
Almost an identical play and outcome to the example above. Teague again drives into the paint but finds himself with nowhere to go and has the kick out pass stolen. Atlanta's spacing is actually pretty good on this play but the Raptors do a nice job of preventing the pass to Millsap in the corner as Patterson plays Teague's right hand forcing him left. Teague can't get much on the pass out to Carroll and DeRozan uses his length to come up with the steal.
This play is just a straight bad decision by Millsap who tries to attack the basket but ends up turning the ball over and fueling another Toronto fast break. Millsap struggled in the opener and no doubt was trying to make a play here or get to the free throw line. Still Atlanta's secondary break is one of its most valuable weapons and triggering it here would have been the right call.
Like rebounding, the good news is that all of these miscues are correctable. There is a lot of freedom in Atlanta's offense and they are working some new faces into the group. Its a bit disappointing to see these types of errors from guys that were a big part of this offense last season but these things do happen over the course of an 82 game season. The Hawks are still working in some new faces to the equation and the continuity will come the more opportunities they have to play together.