In 1974, the NBA started tracking steals. And apparently, they thought that was a sufficient measure of forcing turnovers on defense, because they haven’t added anything related in their box score since.
The easiest measure of forcing turnovers is to track offensive fouls drawn. Hoopdata provides charges taken, although nothing is listed for the 2011 season. In my stat-tracking, I note any offensive foul drawn, excluding the moving screen.
In last year’s playoffs, the average player drew 0.31 offensive fouls per 100 possessions. In tracking games this year, that number is 0.49/100 possessions (there was a lot of good offense in the 2010 postseason, despite the NBA Finals). Here are the leaders in “charge” rates — offensive fouls taken per 100 possessions — from last year’s playoffs:
Nick Collison was hitting the deck like a sailor in the Thunder’s six games against LA. Derek Fisher drew the most total charges, with 14. A familiar name for those who are abreast to charge-related statistics is Glen Davis, who was this year’s NBA leader at the last unofficial count I heard.
There are other ways to force turnovers on defense that don’t reach the box. There are two in particular that I track and both have to do with deflecting the ball in a manner not registered as a steal:
- Knocking the ball off an offensive player and out of bounds
- Knocking the ball away as to force a shot clock violation
The second method is inherently less valuable because it has to happen near the end of the shot clock, when the value of the possession is already reduced. Nonetheless, both are quite easy to keep track off and add to the overall picture of a player’s defensive ability to force turnovers. These kinds of forced turnovers occur at a rate of about 0.30 per 100 possessions.
Along with steals,we can combine all of these into one defensive measure for “forcing turnovers.” Below are the leaders from the 2010 playoffs (league average was 2.09/100):
Obviously, this is quite a different list than the one portrayed by looking only at steals. Here are the complete leaders from the 2010 playoffs in non-traditional turnovers and total forced turnovers.