COMMENTARY | Greivis Vasquez is one of the most polarizing New Orleans Hornets on the 2012-13 roster. Vasquez has legions of fans who point to his league-leading assists numbers and the possibility of him winning the 2013 NBA Most Improved Player Award.
On the other hand, Vasquez's lack of speed has rendered Hornets' fast breaks almost nonexistent and he has struggled on defense against the NBA's better point guards. Greivis Vasquez has also had an exorbitant number of turnovers this season. In fact, on April 14, Vasquez set the Hornets' franchise record for turnovers in a single season with 247.
For a while, it looked like Greivis Vasquez would only tie this dubious turnover record for the Hornets. He was stuck on 246, in a tie with Baron Davis, for a couple of games and Vasquez even missed the previous game with an injury. It looked like he might even make it through Sunday's game without a turnover, but a late failed alley-oop attempt to Robin Lopez doomed Vasquez.
Now that Vasquez is the single-season turnover leader for New Orleans, a dose of perspective is necessary to assess the impact of this record. Much like an NFL quarterback who throws a lot of interceptions, Vasquez only holds this record because he is the Hornets' best ball handler. If New Orleans had a better option at point guard, Greivis Vasquez would never have had the opportunity to average over three turnovers per game.
A quick look at the Hornets' top 10 single-season leaders in turnovers gives a veritable "who's who" of NBA talent. Besides Baron Davis, the list includes Alonzo Mourning, Chris Paul, Jamal Mashburn, and Larry Johnson. Clearly, a team's star will have more opportunities for turnovers and sometimes the defense will win these individual battles.
When examining the NBA as a whole in the 2012-13 season, Greivis Vasquez ranks seventh in total turnovers. The players with more turnovers than Vasquez could start for any nation's Olympic team in the world. In descending order, the NBA players with more turnovers than Vasquez include Kobe Bryant, Jrue Holiday, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Monta Ellis.
Another interesting fact is that five of those six players compete on teams that are currently in position to qualify for the 2013 NBA playoffs. Needless to say, Greivis Vasquez has less talent around him than any of the aforementioned players. Couple that with New Orleans' youth, injuries, and coach Monty Williams' bizarre rotations, it is a minor miracle that he doesn't have even more turnovers.
Most Hornets' fans are already looking forward to the 2013 NBA draft and the free agency period. Although New Orleans picked up the team option on Vasquez's bargain basement 2013-14 contract, his future could depend in large part on what prospect falls into the Pelicans' beak in the draft. However, his record season in turnovers should not be the determining factor in whether New Orleans keeps Greivis Vasquez or looks for another point guard.
Patrick Michael was born in New Orleans and currently resides in the Big Easy. Patrick has followed the Hornets since they moved to New Orleans and has covered the team since 2010. He was in attendance the night the Hornets were one win away from the Western Conference Finals. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
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