25 Most Common Turnovers in NBA2K

When I play NBA 2K12, I always have two keys to the game. The first is to get the best shot possible and therefore shoot a higher percentage than my opponent. The second is to keep my turnovers down. So in this tutorial, I am going to talk about how to reduce your turnovers by eliminating some of the more common mistakes I make and that I see when I play other people. If you have played online at all, then you know that it’s a free-for-all with full court pressing and mashing the steal button constantly throughout the game. In this year’s game, you’ll see your share of Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat users that defend you all over the court. These tips will help you deal with that constant pressure.

While I don’t know that these are all “technically” turnovers that show up in the box score as a turnover I see them as turnovers because the ball goes to the other team. So with that said, here are the top 25 turnovers I see and how I deal with them. In most games, I have eliminated a lot of these and it has vastly improved my game. Just like great shot selection, not turning the ball over does require some focus. I know some games, I lose my focus and turn it over a lot just like some games I don’t shoot as well as I like. It really also depends on the quality of the defender you are playing. For the most part, my turnovers on average have gone down overall.

I started with turnovers in the backcourt and moved into the ones that happen in the front court. You will also notice that in several cases I recommend calling timeout to avoid the turnover. I guess it’s possible you might run out of timeouts, but running out of timeouts has been pretty rare and honestly, I don’t really remember running out of timeouts. A well timed timeout is good basketball strategy. I try and keep at least two timeouts for the end of the game. Below these tips is a video of a game where I turn it over a lot.

Turnover #1 – The five second call

While it’s not usually a problem to at least hit the pass button, sometimes your players won’t react. As you try and figure out how to get the ball in bounds, you run out of time and turn the ball over. I think this usually happens because a player down court has been selected. The game seems to have a safeguard to prevent you from just blasting it all the way down court. This safeguard makes it appear that you can’t pass it in.

How to avoid turning it over: To avoid this, on the PS3, hit the R1 button and press the icon of the player you want to throw it into, then press the pass button. If that doesn’t work, then call time out.

Turnover #2 – Getting the ball stolen when you make the inbound pass

Online, there’s almost always a guy waiting ready to pick off the inbound pass. Sometimes it seems like there are three or four guys waiting. If you have an opponent who likes to press the full length of the court, then there are just more chances you will turn the ball over. If you turn the ball over here, the other team can get an easy dunk on you which can turn the momentum of the game in their favor.

How to avoid turning it over: Before you pass the ball in, look at the defense and see where the defenders are. Sometimes, it’s just token pressure to see if you they can get a quick steal and if you wait a second they fall back. What I recommend here is to move the player who is supposed to receive the pass so that he is open in front of or to the side of the defender. The best possible way to do this is to move him right in front of your player that is inbounding the ball. This shortens the passing lane and makes it easier to get the ball inbounds.

Turnover #3 – Getting the ball stolen after you get the rebound

I’ve noticed a lot of times that I get the ball stolen from me right after I get the rebound. This can happen before you even realize that you have gotten the rebound which can be pretty frustrating because you didn’t really have a chance to do anything. Before you know it, it’s another dunk in your face or a quick shot and then the defense is right in your face again. Fortunately it doesn’t happen all the time unless your opponent is constantly hitting the steal button. If so, then read on.

How to avoid turning it over: Make sure that you secure the rebound before you try and move your player. If it’s a center or power forward and you want to make sure that there’s no chance that he will lose the ball after getting the rebound, then on the PS3, hit the triangle button to protect the ball. It causes your player to pick the ball up and then it can be protected better than if you were standing there dribbling it. Sometimes, your guards will stupidly go up court leaving your center or power forward standing there. In this case, the best thing that you can do is advance the ball unless you get challenged then call a timeout so you don’t get the ball stolen.

Turnover #4 – Getting the outlet pass stolen after a rebound

One of the great things about NBA 2K12 is that it is such a fast paced, exciting game. So what happens is that as soon as we get possession of the ball, we immediately hit the pass button to get the ball moving up court. The only problem is that a lot of people I play online are ready for that pass and pick it off. They seem to know exactly where to position their defender to get the easy steal. Then they get an easy basket.

How to avoid turning it over: Take your time. Once you get the rebound, find your point guard and wait for him to get open. Often you will need to move the player with the ball up court a bit to create that opening. Just be careful if you take your big men up court. They are easy to steal from so you might want to call time out if they get near a good defender.

Turnover #5 – Driving into the defender or getting double teamed and losing the ball

Once you start to move the ball up court, you will encounter defensive pressure that will try and bump you and steal the ball. Sometimes you even get double teamed. If your dribbling player is a big man, it’s compounded by the fact that he is a poor ball handler, there’s a huge chance the ball is going to get stolen. But even if he is your point guard, driving into the defender can cause you to lose the ball resulting in a fast break score for your opponent.

How to avoid turning it over: The first thing you want to do here is make sure that your big men aren’t bringing the ball up court. Get the ball to your point guard and if that’s not possible, get it to your shooting guard. If your big man has the ball and you can’t get it to your point guard with defensive pressure coming, then call time out. If your point guard has it and the defense is extended move the ball with the left stick to dribble with the hand away from the defender. While it won’t guarantee it won’t get stolen, you will draw a lot more fouls that way when the defense starts reaching. If you find your player getting stuck in some sort of animation, pull back on the stick. Call time out if that doesn’t do any good. To avoid double teams, try and stay near the center of the court and away from the deep corners. Usually if the double team comes there’s an open man somewhere, look around for him and see if it’s possible to make a safe skip pass to him. If not, pass to the nearest teammate instead. I prefer to dribble away from a double team and make the pass before I have to pick up my dribble. Again you can call time out if you are smothered in defense.

Turnover #6 – Charging fouls

Chances are that if you have a guy guarding you all over the court, you are going to also see his guy trying to take the charge every where as well.

I see this mostly in the back court as I am bringing the ball up the court. But of course, it can happen everywhere on the floor so be alert for it. The defenders will try and get position to draw the charge. While it’s annoying, you still have to deal with it.

How to avoid turning it over: For the most part, if you avoid the defender and not turbo into them, you’ll avoid the charges. Once you have seen it a few times, you will learn how to avoid it. It still happens from time to time with me, but it’s few and far between.

Turnover #7 – Eight seconds in the back court

If a team is pressing you full court, it’s primary objective is to either get a quick turnover, use up shot clock or just get you to rush your offense and take a bad shot. In the process of exerting all of this pressure, you’ll sometimes be so focused on the defense, you will forget to get the ball over the center court line before eight seconds has expired and you will turn the ball over.

How to avoid turning it over: Watch the shot clock. If you see it getting close to 16 seconds, call time out. Also keep in mind that the defense is counting on you to use turbo or force a pass down court to get it across the line in time. If you use turbo, this makes you more vulnerable to the steal so don’t do it near a defender (who you’ll see reaching wildly). If you call time out, you have a fresh eight seconds to work with. I don’t think it works this way in the real NBA (I’m not sure) so count yourself lucky.

Turnover #8 – Forcing bad passes on the fast break

Pushing the ball up court can result in easy baskets – if they are well timed and well placed. The first fast break turnover is when you throw it to the guy running up the court to get in the corner and when he catches it he runs out of bounds. Another is when you throw it to a guy that has bad hands and he bobbles it and loses it. The other one is when you pass it to a guy on the break and he moves from where you thought he would be towards the basket and right into the hands of the defender.

How to avoid turning it over: These turnovers can be frustrating. My first advice is don’t make those passes. Take your time. Learn from experience whether the guy you pass it to is going to stay still or move or have time to catch it and stay in bounds.

Turnover #9 – Trying to turbo past your defender bringing the ball into the front court

It seems only natural that when you are bringing the ball up the court with your point guard that you should be able to sprint pass slower defenders like Pau Gasol of the Lakers and Joakim Noah of the Bulls. And it seems natural to think that if you are Darren Collison you could outrun a defender five feet behind you. But in the game it doesn’t work that way. If you use turbo to get past a defender bringing the ball up court, you can almost count on them knocking it out of your hands.

How to avoid turning it over: Don’t turbo bringing the ball up unless you have a clean path around you. Dribble the ball with the hand away from the defender and don’t turbo. Unless the defender cuts off your path, you should be able to bring the ball up. If you stay towards the center of the court that will help as well. This keeps the sideline from being another defender.

Turnover #10 – Backcourt violation

Another turnover that I sometimes get is the backcourt violation. Not because I went over the line and back on my own, but because I got stuck in some sort of animation or was pinned to the half court line by the defense. It’s better this year in that most often, the defense is called for a blocking foul if they run into you at the line and cause the violation (a change I like by the way), it can still happen.

How to avoid turning it over: Keep the ball handler away from the defenders near the half court line and don’t cause collisions with them there. Also watch for the double team. I’ve surprised people at the line with a double team and gotten them to step on the line.

Turnover #11 – Getting the ball stolen by the defender

No matter what you do, you are going to have times where a great defender steals the ball from you. Chris Paul, Ronnie Brewer and Rajon Rondo have some of the highest steal ratings in the game. There are times that they will just get a steal if you are near them. I’m not saying that it’s necessarily right that the game is that way, but that’s the way it works.

How to avoid turning it over: The main things you can do are to avoid coming near defenders with high steal ratings with dribblers that have low ball handling and ball security ratings. Don’t run the offense with your big men. If the defender is so much better than your point guard, use your shooting guard. But honestly, if you keep your turnovers to just this category, you won’t have many a game, probably less than 3 to 5.

Turnover #12 – Passing to a player who is momentum is going out of bounds

Sometime you will make a pass to a guy who will immediately run out of bounds.

How to avoid the turnover: Make passes to players that are set or on there way to certain spots. If you are on the move, your teammates will be too and sometimes that movement if you get the ball to them at the wrong time will carry them out of bounds. Make note of when you see it happen and avoid that pass.

Turnover #13 – Dribbling out of bounds

I’ve noticed that sometimes I will get the rebound and my guy will just fly out of bounds. Or, I will dribble towards the baseline and just go right on out.

How to avoid turning it over: Use extra care near the baseline to not run into a defender and get forced out of bounds or to push your stick in the wrong direction.

Turnover #14 – Trying to throw the ball cross court

In real life basketball, coaches always teach you to never make cross court passes. I’m always amazed that even at the highest level of NBA basketball, I still see cross court passes and even in very crucial game situations it happens. In NBA 2k, some of my turnovers come in this area. The difference is that when I think of a cross court pass, I think of a pass going all the way from sideline to sideline. In the game though, just going from one side of the court to the other is a cross court pass and the majority of the times, it is easily picked off. It doesn’t mean you can’t get away with it, you can from time to time.

How to avoid turning it over: In 2k camera view, draw a line down the center of the court. Don’t throw it over that line unless you have a wide open passing lane. It’s better to make passes on the same side of the court. This is a tough rule to follow for me, but it’s a good one that you should definitely avoid throwing over that imaginary line.

Turnover #15 – Forcing the pass

This is a big one for me. I want to get the ball to a player so I pass it. The only thing is that the player wasn’t open. Then the pass gets intercepted.

How to avoid turning it over: Make sure your teammate is open before you pass it. If there is a defender between you and the man you are passing to, that’s a good sign you shouldn’t pass it. Notice in the previous picture with George trying to get it to West. There is a defender right there and I threw it anyway. You can’t do that. This is an area where I could improve.

Turnover #16 – Throwing to the wrong guy by accident

I make heavy use of icons to pass to my teammates. I often leave them up and take them down when I am ready to shoot. A lot of times, I want to throw it to Paul George and throw it to Danny Granger instead because I hit the wrong button on accident. Since I am not a little kid, I am not as good using the controls as a kid might be and just make mistakes. I also sometimes decide to shoot with my icons still up and forget to take them down first. Because of that I might pass it by mistake (when I meant to shoot) resulting in a turnover. If you don’t use the icons to pass, you can also throw it to the wrong guy because the pass button doesn’t see where you want to throw it to. Often it’s the wrong guy.

How to avoid turning it over: You can tell who the pass will go to if you use the pass button by looking at the darker gray circle under the intended player who will get the ball. I’m an icon passer because it’s hard to recognize who has the gray circle. I tend to think of my players as their icon as well. Collison is X. George is O and so on. The first thing I do is make sure that if I sub I do it manually and that I am consistent about the position a player plays. And if I see that guy, he isn’t square one game and triangle the next. One other thing I do is just be extra patient. This is another area where I need work.

Turnover #17 – Alley-oop-ing when it’s not there

This isn’t usually a big one for me since I rarely alley oop it at this point, but I do see people online alley ooping the pass to players who aren’t there or forcing it. The ball goes sailing to nobody and many times I can just catch it.

How to avoid turning it over: Be sure and practice your alley oop hot spots where it’s a sure thing.

Turnover #18 – Travelling

I sometimes get called for travelling when I fake it after doing a turnaround post move with Roy Hibbert. That’s about the only time I have seen it but it happens to me when I am posting sometimes at crucial times.

How to avoid turning it over: Spend time in practice mode perfecting your post moves and try not to string to many moves together.

Turnover #19 – Three seconds

You can’t stand in the painted lane area below the free throw line for more than three seconds. If you do, you get a three second call.

How to avoid turning it over: This one is fairly easy enough to avoid. Just don’t camp in the lane. This is another one of those turnovers where one of your CPU teammates can get called for even if you aren’t controlling them. It will happen when your teammates are expecting you to take a shot but instead you dribble around some more.

Turnover #20 – Moving screen

The pick and roll is one of the best plays in basketball. But if you don’t run it correctly, you will turn the ball over. If the screener doesn’t get set before he sets the screen and is moving when the ball handler runs his man into the screen, you are likely to get called for a foul and then turn the ball over.

How to avoid turning it over: To avoid getting called for an illegal moving screen, make sure the screener is set. He will kind of stiffen up when he is.

Turnover #21 – Backing your guy down while dribbling for five seconds

A more uncommon turnover is backing your man down into the paint for more than five seconds. If you press triangle and move into post position and then start dribbling and backing your man down into the lane, you can’t do that longer than five seconds. This rule was put in place because Mark Jackson of the Pacers use to back his guy down until he scored. They didn’t want the small market team getting any advantage so they limited that time.

How to avoid turning it over: Shoot with five seconds or pick up the ball. You can also hit triangle button again to get out of posting position. This will stop five second count.

Turnover #22 – Getting the ball stolen while making a dribble move or layup

You are more likely to turn the ball over at the beginning of a move. For example, at the beginning of a turbo move, if the defense times it right, they can cause a turnover. It works the same if you start and isomotion, layup or just move the ball in front of the defender. A well timed steal attempt will knock the ball loose.

How to avoid turning it over: Be aware of the defense and adjust your moves accordingly. Realize that you can’t isomotion with players who don’t have the skills and create space between you and the defender before you start the move. Know your players strengths and weaknesses as well as those of the player guarding you.

Turnover #23 – Over the back (loose ball foul)

Once the shot goes up in the air, you want to get good rebounding position. To get the rebound, you have to hit triangle to jump. If you are being blocked out and hit the triangle button, you could get called for going over the back.

How to avoid turning it over: In the picture to the right, I wasn’t even controlling Collison and he committed the foul. So, it can happen even if you aren’t controlling the guy. But what you will want to make sure of is that you don’t hit the triangle button when you are being blocked out. Instead get good rebounding position then jump.

Turnover #24 – 24 second shot clock violation

Each possession you have 24 seconds to get a shot off. If you don’t, it’s a shot clock violation. Most players online probably don’t know there is a shot clock they shoot so quickly. But if you take your time, the defense can cause you to run out  of time.

How to avoid turning it over: If you see the shot clock get down to about 10 seconds, it’s time to start getting in gear to get a shot. You’ll notice that the shot clock starts beeping at 5 seconds to give you additional warning as to when the shot clock will expire. Personally, I’d rather the shot clock expire if I don’t get a good shot. The reason? A bad shot that misses often leads to a fast break score for the other team. A shot clock violation means they take it out of bounds and have to bring it up against your defense which is already in position.

Turnover #25 – Rushing your possession and taking bad shots

This isn’t really a turnover, but if the defense gets you to rush your possession and take a quick shot – or a bad shot – then they have succeeded. Many times, they can take that miss and turn it into a fast break.

How to avoid turning it over: Do everything you can to get the ball down court quickly and safely and get a GOOD shot.

How To Reduce Your Turnovers In NBA 2K12

The key to reducing your turnovers in NBA 2K12 is to first of all start looking at how many turnovers you actually commit in a game. When I first started playing, I would turn it over 10 to 15 times a game easy. Once I knew roughly how many turnovers I was committing, I could then focus on specifically where I was turning the ball over and work to correct and improve it and set a target turnover goal. My first objective was to get it under ten a game. I do pretty good at that for the most part but I still have problem areas and games where I do poorly. My goal now is to get it under 5 a game on average and to get my first zero turnover game.

Using the above list, I know from my game experience, that the areas I still need to work on are:

    • Turnover #5 – Driving into a defender and losing the ball
    • Turnover #8 – Forcing passes on the fast break
    • Turnover #11 – Getting the ball stolen by the defender
    • Turnover #14 – Trying to throw the ball cross court
    • Turnover #15 – Forcing the pass
    • Turnover #16 – Throwing to the wrong guy by accident
  • Turnover #17 – Getting the ball stolen while making a dribble move or layup

The turnovers in this list that I have the most trouble also include areas that I can control. I also know that I can improve on avoiding throwing the ball cross court, forcing the pass and just throwing it to the wrong guy by accident.

Now that I’ve identified the areas I need to work on, I can begin to focus my efforts in these additional areas specifically to reach my goal.

There you have it. My twenty five most common turnovers in NBA 2K12 and how to avoid them. If you follow the advice above, you will reduce your turnovers, shoot better than the other team and win more games online and offline. How do I know, because I have done it and I know it works. But just for fun, there’s a video at the top where I turn it over a lot and talk about the 25 turnovers.


Coach2K is a fictional NBA2K player. C2K has been playing video basketball games since the Mattel handheld basketball game was released way back in 1980. You can contact Coach2K on Twitter by clicking here.

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