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Time to ‘value the ball,’ says the coach ... and the players

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Detroit Pistons Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It’s all about turnovers. In the last nine games, the Nets have averaged 13.3 turnovers ... and won one game. There is a connection, says Joe Harris, who had five of the team’s 19 turnovers in the team’s loss to the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday

“That was a point of emphasis in practice and it’ll be a point of emphasis going forward,” he said Friday. “In Detroit, it wasn’t a matter of effort or being competitive. It was more mental mistakes, valuing the ball. We just did a poor job of taking care of the basketball. They had a lot of points off our turnovers. The stuff you can control and try and limit. Turnovers happen in a game, but 19 are too many and they had way too many points off it.”

In fact, giving up turnovers —and forcing them— are big among areas where the team needs to make improvement.

The Nets are tied for sixth in turnovers per game among NBA teams at 15.5, and the Pelicans are actually just above Brooklyn in fifth place at 15.6. The Nets are dead last in turnovers forced at a league low 12.4 per game, and defensive turnover percentage at 11.1%. Not good.

So what can you do about it? “We need to do a better job of taking care of the ball.”

D’Angelo Russell gets a pass on his recent turnover rate —2.6 per game in the 10 games since he’s returned. But in the 13 games he played before he went down, he averaged 4.0. As we noted earlier, Kenny Atkinson says he has to do better, but does everyone.

“He’s got to tighten it up. We have to tighten it up,” Atkinson said. “I thought that was a difference in the game, turnovers. We really looked at it today. We’re on our guys about it.”

All is not lost. The Nets did play well in Detroit ... and now that the trade deadline has passed, that’s one fewer distraction for a number of players.

“Coming into this we’re trying to build off of the competitive play that we had in Detroit,” added Harris. “Even though we came up short, I felt like we did a good job of competing throughout.”