The excuse that the pace-and-space play of the Wizards will lend itself to turnovers because that's just a byproduct is just that -- an excuse. Plenty of teams have sped up their play and don't sacrifice ball security to do it.
Other than the win vs. the San Antonio Spurs, when the Wizards had just 10 turnovers, their ball security has been atrocious to start the season. In their other four games, they've had 82 that have turned into 78 points for the opponent. In Friday's 118-98 loss to the Boston Celtics, they had a season-high 24 turnovers that led to 24 points.
"They did a good job of using their hands and pushing the pace. We had too many live turnovers and we couldn't make shots," said Wizards point guard John Wall, who had a season-high eight. "They made a lot of threes and put us in a bind that we hadn't been in before this season."
The Phoenix Suns, when they were at their best in Steve Nash's MVP seasons in 2005 and '06, averaged less than 14 turnovers a game in advancing to the conference finals each season which put them in the top 10. Last season's NBA champ, the Golden State Warriors, averaged 14.5 which put them just below the middle of the 30-team pack at 18th. The 2014 champion Spurs averaged 14.4 which was good for 11th best. The 2009 Orlando Magic, who advanced to the NBA Finals, averaged just 13.9 for 12th.
So it can be done. The defense has slipped in Washington, and turnovers have contributed. If the Wizards (3-2) are constantly putting their opponents in transition by giving away live basketballs, they're going to have trouble getting stops or coming back from deficits. When they fix this, then they'll have to address how to get more out of Marcin Gortat in the low post. There's more than one fire to put out though it's much too early in the season to panic.
"We were running our offense. A lot of turnovers wasn't (because of) overdribbling today," Wall said. "They're a team kind of like the Hawks and all the good teams we play, they're going to use their hands, they're very active. When we try to make skip passes and make flare passes they did a great job put their hands in the passing lanes. You give credit to the team that played better defense and forced you in those situations."
The Hawks are next up tonight, in Atlanta (CSN, CSNmidatlantic.com and NBC Sports Live Extra, 7 p.m. ET).