Why have the Phoenix Suns turned the ball over so much this season?

It is no secret that the Phoenix Suns have not taken care of the basketball this season, but why have they been so prone to turnovers?

Phoenix Suns v New Orleans Pelicans
Phoenix Suns v New Orleans Pelicans / Sean Gardner/GettyImages

it is no secret that the Phoenix Suns have failed to take care of the basketball this season. Try as head coach Frank Vogel has to eliminate these costly mistakes, one of the defining statistics of this season will be the team's turnovers per game.

This currently stands at an ugly 14.9 each night - which puts the Suns 25th in the league in this category - with every team below them set to miss out on not only the playoffs, but the play-in tournament as well. That is not good company to be in, and it is one of the many reasons this roster will not be competing for a championship this season.

But if everybody is aware how bad the turnover problems are, why exactly has it happened so frequently for the Suns this season?

Before delving into the possible reasons for this, you need to only watch literally any game this season to get a sense as to how bad this actually is. For all of the Suns' offensive weapons - and really they have so many that they shouldn't be in a play-in battle - there seems to be a baffling unwillingness to look after the basketball.

Players like Kevin Durant and Devin Booker are superstars, yet at least once per game they'll throw an errant pass or else kick the ball ahead to a teammate who isn't ready or is not looking. This is not just on the Suns' two best players though, and really everybody on the roster has to do a better job.

Perhaps worst of all, these turnovers are often not as a result of a forced pass or trying something different in order to get a teammate an open look. Generally they are sloppy and unforced and completely take the team out of their offensive flow.

The fact the Suns don't have an established point guard this season has long been talked about as a problem for several reasons, but is turnovers one of them? Both Booker and in particular Bradley Beal (when healthy and after a run of games) have done a really nice job in splitting the ball-handling duties.

Of the top five teams with the fewest turnovers per game, the Dallas Mavericks sit fourth at 12.3. This despite their do-it-all talisman Luka Doncic leading the league in turnovers per game, at a whopping four per night. Doncic acts as the Mavericks' point guard, so maybe there is something too looking after the ball on a team-wide scale, even if your ball-handler coughs up the ball a ton.

The other four teams that comprise that top five are the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls and Denver Nuggets. Unsurprisingly, Joel Embiid when healthy has the highest usage rate on the 76ers, at 39.5 percent. Of players who qualify, Tyrese Maxey sits second (28 percent), and he is far from a point guard in the traditional sense.

The Nuggets are a unique case in that Nikola Jokic runs the show from the center position, while the Celtics are a team we will return to. The Bulls have gotten a huge year from Coby White - and despite them being an afterthought out East - he is the purest point guard who routinely runs the show and sets up DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic on a nightly basis.

All three have higher usage rates than White, but any possession he is on the floor generally starts with him. So perhaps having a player to initiated most of the time is the key to success, because Maxey, Jokic and White all do this to some degree. Interestingly, Isaiah Thomas - recently signed to a second 10-day deal - currently has the fourth highest usage (22.8 percent) on the Suns.

Obviously this has to be qualified by the fact he's only played twice, but it is interesting how much he has taken over setting up the team in the extremely limited time he has been on the court. If an actual point guard was playing next to Booker and Beal (even if that would be detrimental to Grayson Allen), you could then make the case that the Suns would do a better job taking care of the ball.

Returning to the Celtics though, and they may be the key to ensuring the Suns turn the ball over as frequently as they do. Derrick White might be the "point guard", but in reality it is Jayson Tatum and to a lesser extent Jaylen Brown who create and get teammates involved. The Suns have their own version of this with Booker and Beal, although no White to act as the fallback option.

Next. 4 way too early free agency targets for the Suns this summer. 4 way too early free agency targets for the Suns this summer. dark

That then would seem to be how the Suns can fix this problem. Either make Allen more comfortable as the third option to go to on certain possessions to create, or wait until the offseason to address this problem and remake the starting five some. The latter is the most likely option - and until that happens - the Suns are going to produce comical turnovers on a near nightly basis.

So the problem then wasn't that a traditional point guard would have cured this particular problem. Rather the third option behind Booker and Beal on the court needs to be more comfortable creating on several occasions each game. That and being more locked in when the ball is in hand, which Booker, Beal and Durant have all been guilty of plenty this season.