Stretch run could be full of Phoenix Suns turnovers – historic Chris Paul stat to blame

How badly could the Phoenix Suns miss Chris Paul’s sure play as he’s sidelined with an avulsion fracture to his right thumb?

When CP3 arrived in the Valley of the Sun last season, one of the most predictable improvements was Phoenix’s turnover rate. Near the league average in that category in 2019-20, the Suns broke into the league’s top five en route to the NBA Finals last season.

During the All-Star break, Phoenix turned the ball over on 11.4% of their possessions with Paul on the court according to NBA Advanced Stats. With him on the bench, it climbs to 15.7%. With that in mind, this week’s mailbag looks at whether Paul has done more to prevent turnovers than any other NBA player historically.

Throughout the NBA season, I answer your questions about the latest and greatest in basketball. You can tweet me directly at @kpeltontweet your questions using the hashtag #peltonmailbag or email them to

This week’s mailbag also answers questions about the remaining buyout candidates in the market and what kind of players could be added to the roster when the NBA picks a 100th anniversary team 25 years from now.

“Last year the Suns made history for the way they took care of the ball. Is there a player in history who lowered turnovers more than Paul? “


First, it should be noted that for our purposes, the “history” of the NBA begins in 1973-74, the first year the league tracked turnovers at the team level. It’s possible that Bob Cousy or Oscar Robertson were the best at it and we’ll never know.

Since then, I’ve attempted to answer the question by looking at the team’s turnover rate compared to the league average this season for all games in a player’s career. This required a somewhat disparate approach: adjusted team turnover rate throughout the season until 1984-85, estimated team turnover rate per game until 1995-96 and the team per game since 1996-97 using actual possessions in the play-by-play era.

Among players with at least 1,000 career games, here are the leaders:

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