The 20 Players With Most Turnovers in NBA History

Players With Most Turnovers in NBA History: Basketball involves a lot of passing and dribbling, but sometimes players make mistakes and lose possession of the ball. Certain players in the NBA are more likely to make these mistakes because they handle the ball a lot and take risks to score points for themselves and their teammates. Even though these players are skilled at creating opportunities to score, they also end up making a lot of turnovers.

The top 20 players who have the most turnovers in NBA history are usually guards or forwards who are known for their scoring abilities. They have played in multiple All-Star Games, showcasing their talent. However, their aggressive playing style, which involves taking risks, often results in them losing possession of the ball frequently.

Players With Most Turnovers in NBA History

Let’s take a look at the list of the 20 players with the most turnovers in NBA history.

1. LeBron James

  • Team(s): Cleveland Cavaliers (2003–2010, 2014–2018), Miami Heat (2010–2014), Los Angeles Lakers (2018–present)
  • Total Turnovers: 5,034
  • Games Played: 1,440
  • Average: 3.50

LeBron James, known as “King James,” holds the NBA record for the most turnovers. Despite this, he’s considered one of the greatest players ever, winning four championships and numerous awards.

NBA All-time Point Scorers
Image Source: Instagram

LeBron, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, achieved milestones with the Cavaliers, Heat, and Lakers. Off the court, he’s a successful businessman, surpassing $1 billion in earnings. His LeBron James Family Foundation supports community projects in Akron. With 5,034 turnovers in 1,440 matches, LeBron’s impact on and off the court is undeniable.

2. Karl Malone

  • Team(s): Utah Jazz (1985–2003), Los Angeles Lakers (2003–2004)
  • Total Turnovers: 4,524
  • Games Played: 1,476
  • Average: 3.07

Karl Malone, nicknamed “the Mailman,” ranks second in NBA history for most turnovers. Despite this, he’s celebrated as one of the greatest power forwards ever. Spending the majority of his 18-season career with the Utah Jazz, Malone earned two MVP awards, made 14 All-Star appearances, and secured 11 All-NBA first-team selections. With 36,928 career points, he’s third in all-time scoring, behind LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

NBA All-time Point Scorers
Image Source: Instagram

Malone, part of the 1992 and 1996 Olympic gold-winning teams, was honored in the NBA’s 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams. After retiring, he joined the coaching staff at Louisiana Tech and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010. Malone accumulated 4,524 turnovers in 1,476 matches.

3. Russell Westbrook

  • Team(s): Oklahoma City Thunder (2008–2019), Houston Rockets (2019–2020), Washington Wizards (2020–2021), Los Angeles Lakers (2021–2023), Los Angeles Clippers (2023–present)
  • Total Turnovers: 4,487
  • Games Played: 1,112
  • Average: 4.04

Russell Westbrook, ranking third in NBA history for most turnovers, is a standout point guard known for his intensity and versatility. Debuting in 2008, he rose to stardom with the Oklahoma City Thunder before playing for multiple teams, including the Houston Rockets, Washington Wizards, Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz, and Los Angeles Clippers.

Image Source: NBA.COM

Westbrook, a nine-time NBA All-Star and 2016–17 MVP, is famous for his triple-double achievements and holds the all-time record for career triple-doubles. Despite turnovers, his impact on the court is evident. Representing the United States, he won gold in the 2010 FIBA World Championship and the 2012 Olympics. With 4,487 turnovers in 1,112 matches, Westbrook’s dynamic playing style has left a lasting mark on the NBA.

4. John Stockton

  • Team(s): Utah Jazz (1984–2003)
  • Total Turnovers: 4,244
  • Games Played: 1,504
  • Average: 2.82

John Stockton, one of the NBA’s all-time greats, ranks 4th in career turnovers. Despite this, his legendary career with the Utah Jazz from 1984 to 2003 includes ten All-Star appearances, leading the Jazz to two NBA Finals (1997, 1998) with Karl Malone. Stockton holds significant NBA records for career assists and steals.

Image Source: NBA

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009 for his individual career and again in 2010 as part of the ’92 Dream Team, he was named among the 50 greatest players in 1996 and honored in the NBA 75th Anniversary Team in 2021. In 1,504 matches, Stockton accumulated 4,244 turnovers.

5. Kobe Bryant

  • Team(s): Los Angeles Lakers (1996–2016)
  • Total Turnovers: 4,010
  • Games Played: 1,346
  • Average: 2.98

Kobe Bryant, ranked fourth in NBA history for turnovers, had a stellar 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning five championships and earning numerous accolades. A shooting guard, he became an 18-time All-Star and the 2008 MVP.

NBA All-time Point Scorers
Image Source: Instagram

Despite personal and legal challenges, Bryant’s on-court achievements, including two NBA Finals MVPs, left an enduring legacy. Tragically, he and his daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash in 2020. With 4,010 turnovers in 1,346 matches, Bryant’s impact on and off the court is remembered and celebrated.

6. Jason Kidd

  • Team(s): Dallas Mavericks (1994–1996, 2008–2012), Phoenix Suns (1996–2001), New Jersey Nets (2001–2008), New York Knicks (2012–2013)
  • Total Turnovers: 4,003
  • Games Played: 1,391
  • Average: 2.88

Jason Kidd, sixth in NBA history for turnovers, is renowned as one of the greatest point guards. A 10-time NBA All-Star, he won an NBA championship in 2011 with the Dallas Mavericks. Known for his passing and rebounding, Kidd ranks second in career assists and steals. After retiring, he transitioned to coaching, winning an NBA championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020.

Image Source: NBA.COM

In 2021, Kidd became the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks, reaching the Western Conference finals in his first season. With 4,003 turnovers in 1,391 matches, Kidd’s impact as both a player and coach is significant.

7. Moses Malone

  • Team(s): Buffalo Braves (1976)[e], Houston Rockets (1976–1977)[e], Houston Rockets (1977–1982), Philadelphia 76ers (1982–1986, 1993–1994), Washington Bullets (1986–1988), Atlanta Hawks (1988–1991), Milwaukee Bucks (1991–1993), San Antonio Spurs (1994–1995)
  • Total Turnovers: 3,804
  • Games Played: 1,247
  • Average: 3.05

Moses Malone, seventh in NBA history for turnovers, was a dominant center with three MVP awards and a championship with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1983. Widely regarded as one of the greatest and most underrated players, he played for various teams, excelling in rebounding and earning 12 consecutive All-Star selections.

NBA All-time Point Scorers
Image Source: Instagram

Known as the “Chairman of the Boards,” Malone retired with impressive stats, ranking ninth in points and third in rebounds. With 3,804 turnovers in 1,247 matches, his impact goes beyond the numbers.

8. James Harden

  • Team(s): Oklahoma City Thunder (2009–2012), Houston Rockets (2012–2021), Brooklyn Nets (2021–2022), Philadelphia 76ers (2022–2023), Los Angeles Clippers (2023–present)
  • Total Turnovers: 3,763
  • Games Played: 1,013
  • Average: 3.71

James Harden, eighth in NBA history for turnovers, is a renowned scorer and shooting guard. Named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team in 2021, he played for the Houston Rockets and later the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers.

Image Source: NBA.COM

Harden, a former NBA Most Valuable Player, is a multiple-time All-Star and gold medalist with the United States national team. Despite his turnovers totaling 3,763 in 1,013 matches, his impact on the game is significant.

9. Isiah Thomas

  • Team(s): Detroit Pistons (1981–1994)
  • Total Turnovers: 3,682
  • Games Played: 979
  • Average: 3.76

Isiah Thomas, ranking ninth in NBA history for turnovers, is a basketball icon with 12 NBA All-Star appearances. Playing his entire career for the Detroit Pistons, he led them to championships in 1989 and 1990.

Image Source: NBA

Named to the NBA’s anniversary teams, Thomas later pursued coaching and executive roles with teams like the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks. Despite 3,682 turnovers in 979 matches, his impact on the sport extends to coaching and ownership in both the NBA and WNBA.

10. Hakeem Olajuwon

  • Team(s): Houston Rockets (1984–2001), Toronto Raptors (2001–2002)
  • Total Turnovers: 3,667
  • Games Played: 1,238
  • Average: 2.96

Hakeem Olajuwon, tenth in NBA history for turnovers, is a Nigerian-American basketball icon known as “the Dream.” Playing center for the Houston Rockets and briefly for the Toronto Raptors, he led the Rockets to consecutive NBA championships in 1994 and 1995.

NBA All-time Point Scorers
Image Source: Instagram

Olajuwon’s career includes accolades like NBA MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, and NBA Finals MVP in the same season. Despite 3,667 turnovers in 1,238 matches, he retired as the league’s all-time leader in blocks and remains one of the greatest centers in NBA history.

11. Patrick Ewing

  • Team(s): New York Knicks (1985–2000), Seattle SuperSonics (2000–2001), Orlando Magic (2001–2002)
  • Total Turnovers: 3,537
  • Games Played: 1,183
  • Average: 2.99

Patrick Ewing, eleventh in NBA history for turnovers, is celebrated as one of the greatest centers, notably with the New York Knicks. His college success at Georgetown led to a seventeen-year NBA career, where he achieved eleven All-Star selections and played a key role in the Knicks’ 1990s success.

Image Source: NBA

Ewing, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, is honored on the NBA’s 50 and 75 Greatest Players lists. Despite 3,537 turnovers in 1,183 matches, his impact on the game earned him induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame and the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

12. Paul Pierce

  • Team(s): Boston Celtics (1998–2013), Brooklyn Nets (2013–2014), Washington Wizards (2014–2015), Los Angeles Clippers (2015–2017)
  • Total Turnovers: 3,532
  • Games Played: 1,343
  • Average: 2.63

Twelfth in NBA history for turnovers, Paul Pierce, known as “the Truth,” had a storied career primarily with the Boston Celtics. A key part of the legendary “Big Three,” he led Boston to an NBA championship in 2008 and earned NBA Finals MVP honors.

NBA All-time Point Scorers
Image Source: Instagram

Pierce, with 10 All-Star selections, played for various teams, including the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Clippers, before retiring in 2017. Despite 3,532 turnovers in 1,343 matches, Pierce’s impact on the court is evident, and he was honored on the NBA 75th Anniversary Team in October 2021. Post-retirement, he became an analyst on ESPN.

13. Magic Johnson

  • Team(s): Los Angeles Lakers (1979–1991, 1996)
  • Total Turnovers: 3,506
  • Games Played: 906
  • Average: 3.87

Magic Johnson, ranked 13th in NBA history for turnovers, is celebrated as one of the greatest point guards ever. His 13-season career with the Los Angeles Lakers included five NBA championships during the Showtime era.

Image Source: NBA

Johnson’s impressive achievements feature three NBA MVP Awards, nine All-NBA First Team selections, and leading the league in regular-season assists four times. He’s a two-time Hall of Famer, honored in 2002 for his individual career and in 2010 as part of the “Dream Team.” Beyond basketball, Johnson is an advocate, entrepreneur, and part-owner of sports teams, showcasing his diverse success. Despite 3,506 turnovers in 906 matches, his legacy remains iconic.

14. Reggie Theus

  • Team(s): Chicago Bulls (1978–1984), Kansas City/Sacramento Kings (1984–1988), Atlanta Hawks (1988–1989), Orlando Magic (1989–1990), New Jersey Nets (1990–1991)
  • Total Turnovers: 3,493
  • Games Played: 1,026
  • Average: 3.40

Reggie Theus, 14th in NBA history for turnovers, enjoyed a 13-season career, earning two NBA All-Star nods. Beyond his playing days, he transitioned to coaching, leading NBA’s Sacramento Kings and college teams like the New Mexico State Aggies and Cal State Northridge Matadors.

Image Source: NBA.COM

Currently, he serves as the men’s basketball head coach and athletic director at Bethune–Cookman. With 3,493 turnovers in 1,026 matches, Theus has left his mark both as a player and a coach in the world of basketball.

15. Steve Nash

  • Team(s): Phoenix Suns (1996–1998, 2004–2012), Dallas Mavericks (1998–2004), Los Angeles Lakers (2012–2015)
  • Total Turnovers: 3,478
  • Games Played: 1,217
  • Average: 2.86

Steve Nash, ranking 15th in NBA history for turnovers, had a stellar 18-season career, marked by eight All-Star appearances and seven All-NBA selections. Notably, he clinched two NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards while playing for the Phoenix Suns.

Image Source: NBA.COM

Nash’s journey started with a successful high school career in British Columbia, earning him a scholarship to Santa Clara University. Drafted 15th in 1996, initially with the Phoenix Suns, he later played a pivotal role with the Dallas Mavericks before returning to the Suns. Regarded among the greatest point guards, Nash’s impact extended beyond the court. He’s known for his philanthropy, influential Time 100 recognition, and co-ownership of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. With 3,478 turnovers in 1,217 matches, Nash’s legacy resonates in both basketball prowess and off-court contributions.

16. Tim Duncan

  • Team(s): San Antonio Spurs (1997–2016)
  • Total Turnovers: 3,381
  • Games Played: 1,392
  • Average: 2.43

Tim Duncan, 16th in NBA history for turnovers, had a stellar 19-season career solely with the San Antonio Spurs. Known as “the Big Fundamental,” he’s considered the greatest power forward ever. Duncan, hailing from the U.S. Virgin Islands, transitioned to basketball at 14 after Hurricane Hugo disrupted his swimming pursuits. His college success at Wake Forest led to numerous accolades.

NBA All-time Point Scorers
Image Source: Instagram

Selected first overall by the Spurs in 1997, Duncan earned Rookie of the Year and went on to claim five NBA championships, two MVP awards, and 15 All-Star selections. Notable for 13 consecutive All-NBA and All-Defensive Team nods, he’s lauded for his impact on and off the court. Duncan’s legacy extends beyond stats, with his Tim Duncan Foundation focusing on health and education.

17. Charles Barkley

  • Team(s): Philadelphia 76ers (1984–1992), Phoenix Suns (1992–1996), Houston Rockets (1996–2000)
  • Total Turnovers: 3,376
  • Games Played: 1,073
  • Average: 3.15

Charles Barkley, 17th in NBA turnovers, had a robust 16-season career, defying power forward norms with strength and aggression. Known as “Sir Charles,” he excelled as a dominant rebounder, earning 11 NBA All-Star selections and the 1993 MVP title. Drafted in 1984, he made an immediate impact, securing NBA All-Rookie First Team honors.

Image Source: NBA

Barkley’s achievements include leading the league in rebounding (1986–87), NBA All-Star Game MVP (1991), and winning the MVP with the Phoenix Suns (1993). His 2000 retirement marked inclusion in the 20K/10K/4K Club. Barkley’s legacy extends to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, where he’s a two-time inductee. Post-retirement, he thrived as an outspoken NBA analyst on TNT.

18. Dwyane Wade

  • Team(s): Miami Heat (2003–2016, 2018–2019), Chicago Bulls (2016–2017), Cleveland Cavaliers (2017–2018)
  • Total Turnovers: 3,326
  • Games Played: 1,054
  • Average: 3.16

Dwyane Wade, 18th in NBA turnovers, enjoyed a stellar 16-year career, mainly with the Miami Heat. The three-time NBA champion and 13-time All-Star excelled as one of the greatest shooting guards in NBA history. Notable achievements include leading the Heat to their first NBA Championship in 2006 and earning the 2006 NBA Finals MVP. Wade’s impact extended to the 2008 Summer Olympics, where he led the “Redeem Team” to a gold medal. His 2008–09 season featured a scoring title, leading in both total points and points per game.

Image Source: NBA.COM

Wade’s collaboration with LeBron James and Chris Bosh brought two consecutive championships (2012 and 2013) and four consecutive NBA Finals appearances. After brief stints with other teams, Wade returned to Miami, retiring with the Heat in 2019, with his #3 jersey retired in 2020. Wade’s legacy includes a spot on the NBA 75th Anniversary Team and an upcoming induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2023.

19. Shaquille O’Neal

  • Team(s): Orlando Magic (1992–1996), Los Angeles Lakers (1996–2004), Miami Heat (2004–2008), Phoenix Suns (2008–2009), Cleveland Cavaliers (2009–2010), Boston Celtics (2010–2011)
  • Total Turnovers: 3,310
  • Games Played: 1,207
  • Average: 2.74

Shaquille O’Neal, 19th in NBA turnovers, had a storied 19-year career across six teams. A dominant 7-foot-1-inch center, he secured four NBA championships, notably with the Lakers and the Heat.

Image Source: NBA.COM

O’Neal’s impact extends beyond the court, featuring accolades like the 1999-2000 MVP, 15 All-Star selections, and spots on the NBA 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams. A versatile personality, he’s delved into rap, electronic music, acting, and ownership roles, leaving an indelible mark on and off the hardwood.

20. Dwight Howard

  • Team(s): Orlando Magic (2004–2012), Los Angeles Lakers (2012–2013, 2019–2020, 2021–2022), Houston Rockets (2013–2016), Atlanta Hawks (2016–2017), Charlotte Hornets (2017–2018), Washington Wizards (2018–2019), Philadelphia 76ers (2020–2021)
  • Total Turnovers: 3,302
  • Games Played: 1,242
  • Average: 2.66

Dwight Howard, ranking 20th in NBA turnovers, boasts a career as a dominant center with achievements like an NBA championship, eight All-Star selections, and three Defensive Player of the Year awards.

Image Source: NBA.COM

His journey spans multiple teams, including the Magic, Lakers (winning the 2020 NBA Finals), Rockets, Hawks, Hornets, Wizards, and 76ers. Howard’s global impact includes a stint with the Taiwanese Leopards, earning him a T1 All-Star recognition.

Conclusion

The listed players’ willingness to take risks showcases their aggressive playing styles and offensive creativity, contributing significantly to the excitement and competitiveness of the game.

Despite the turnovers, their overall impact and accomplishments in the NBA speak to their resilience and ability to navigate challenges on the court.

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles