Who has the most NBA Turnovers?

By Max Bennett

February 13, 2023

Image Courtesy of Alamy

We've taken a sporting look at which NBA stars have to most turnovers, and the most turnovers per game. The results might be surprising at first, but actually aren't.

The players with the most turnovers are players with a lot of games, that makes perfect sense. But they also tend to be creative players - those who take risks with their possession and their passing.

Turnovers are part of the game, just ask the recently much maligned Russell Westbrook:

"I disagree with the point that the game wasn't going my way. My game is not predicted on shots or if I turn the ball over. If I miss some shots, that's part of the game. I'm allowed to miss shots. Like any other players, I can do that. I can turn the ball over too. I can do that, that's all part of the game. But when you watch a basketball game and figure out what impact is, making the right plays, boxing out, rebounding, whatever that may be, making the right play, making the right reads. That's all about being a basketball player"

And it is relevant that we've quoted Westbrook there.

NBA Players with the most Turnovers

Stats as of 9th Feb 2023

LeBron James*492614103.49
Karl Malone452414763.07
Russell Westbrook*437210734.07
John Stockton424415042.82
Kobe Bryant401013462.98
Jason Kidd400313912.88
Moses Malone380412473.05
Isiah Thomas36829793.76
Hakeem Olajuwon366712382.96
James Harden*36669793.74

*Still playing in the NBA

As you can see there are some big names in the above table, some of the most creative players the game has seen, with a few notable exceptions. One reason for some big name with lots of games played absences is that the NBA only started tracking turnovers in the 1977/78 season, so any misplaced action from prior to that doesn't count.

Some of the isolated other big names you may ponder:

  • Michael Jordan - 31st with 2924 from 1072 for a T/G of 2.73

  • Magic Johnson - 13th with 3506 from 906 for a T/G of 3.87

  • Scottie Pippen - 22nd with 3257 from 1178 for a T/G of 2.78

  • Shaq - 19th with 3310 from 1207 for a T/G of 2.74

Data: Most Turnovers in NBA History wiki

So what about Turnovers per game, which player having played at least 400 NBA Games leads the Turnover per game stats.

Yep, its our quotable friend Russell Westbrook

NBA Players with most Turnovers per game

Russell Westbrook4.1
Magic Johnson3.9
Isiah Thomas3.8
James Harden3.7
John Wall3.7
Allen Iverson3.6
Steve Francis3.5
LeBron James3.5
Reggie Theus3.4
Michael Ray Richardson3.3

Data: Statsmuse

Seems that with only Harden and Westbrook still playing, and LeBron still going strong and recently setting a new NBA Scoring record, it is unlikely King James will be passed any time soon at the top of that Most Turnovers table. An unwanted record perhaps, but not a surprising one.

NBA MVP Odds for our Turnover loving trio

LeBron James, odds 50.00
James Harden, odds 200.00
Russell Westbrook, odds 200.00

As you can see, not much hope for any of these 3 when is comes to this years MVP, our money is firmly on Giannis Antetokounmpo at odds of around 7.00.

We are picking the Greek Freak as we also believe the recent trade drift of talent from East to West makes is easier for the better East teams to make the finals...and our pick for the NBA Championship is Milwaukee Bucks.

Hence our pick of Giannis for MVP.

All odds provided by PlayUp, Australia's best NBA sportsbook.

By Max Bennett  | 02/13/23

Follow Max Bennett on Twitter at @MaxBTheJumpHub

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