The worst thing you can do in any given basketball possession is give the ball to the other team. It will drive a coach insane. It will deflate your team. And you'll be giving up transition buckets all night long. Turnovers are not good, obviously. 

For Denver Nuggets' rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, there will be a lot of turnovers in his first 82-game campaign. In his 12 games in the Chinese Basketball League as he awaited eligibility to enter the NBA, Mudiay turned the ball over 3.2 times per game. That's kind of a lot of sloppiness -- granted he was only 18 years old -- considering the level of competition he was going against.

The turnovers have followed him into the preseason. In four preseason games, he's turned the ball over 19 times. He had 15 of those turnovers in the first two games and slowed down to two turnovers in each of his next two games, but that up-and-down trend will likely continue and projecting him as a high-turnover player his first season seems like a pretty safe bet. 

It sounds like a problem, but it's really not. Check out the names of the 19 rookies in NBA history who have averaged at least 3.5 turnovers per game.

NBA Rookie Guards With High Turnovers
78-79 Reggie Theus CHI 33.6  16.3 2.8 5.2 3.7
78-79 Phil Ford KCK 34.5  15.9 2.3 8.6 4.1
79-80 Magic Johnson LAL 36.3  18.0 7.7 7.3 4.0
81-82 Isiah Thomas DET 33.8  17.0 2.9 7.8 4.2
84-85 Michael Jordan CHI 38.3  28.2 6.5 5.9 3.5
86-87 Ron Harper CLE 37.4  22.9 4.8 4.8 4.2
88-89 Gary Grant LAC 27.1  11.9 3.4 7.1 3.6
93-94 Anfernee Hardaway ORL 36.8  16.0 5.4 6.6 3.6
95-96 Jerry Stackhouse PHI 37.5  19.2 3.7 3.9 3.5
95-96 Damon Stoudamire TOR 40.9  19.0 4.0 9.3 3.8
96-97 Allen Iverson PHI 40.1  23.5 4.1 7.5 4.4
99-00 Steve Francis HOU 36.1  18.0 5.3 6.6 4.0
10-11 John Wall WAS 37.8  16.4 4.6 8.3 3.8
13-14 Michael Carter-Williams PHI 34.5  16.7 6.2 6.3 3.5

If Mudiay turns out to be as good as a lot of these guys on that chart, the Nuggets will obviously have a spectacular player on their hands. Even if he's "just" as good as someone like Ron Harper or Damon Stoudamire, that's an excellent starting guard for a decade or more for Denver. The simple truth is that good players have the ball in their hands a lot. They're asked to make a lot of plays that sometimes aren't there to make, and they're young, so they try to make them. 

There is every reason to believe Mudiay, like most every other guy on that very celebrated list, will figure this out. Looking at a few of his preseason turnovers, he mostly looks like a young player trying to figure out how to get where he wants to go on the floor. There are some regular-old bad passes and perhaps overzealous lobs to Kenneth Faried here and there, but it's mostly Mudiay attacking and learning about body control against the best athletes the sport has to offer.

That kind of aggression, once he learns when and how to apply it and finds the right balance, will serve Mudiay well. Sometimes it's just a simple adjustment -- like starting your attack a couple feet higher than normal so you don't get trapped by the baseline, or making sure the jump pass is absolutely necessary to complete a play rather than just a bad reaction when you're out of ideas on how to finish the move you've prematurely made.

You can already see Mudiay making these adjustments, largely because his instincts are off the charts. Early on, these instincts might lead to some ill-advidsed plays because he sees and feels plays before they're actually open, but again, he'll find this balance, and when he does, look out.

Mudiay was really good the other night against the the Golden State Warriors -- the NBA's reigning champs and top defense. Overall in the preseason, when the defense has committed to stopping Mudiay in the pick-and-roll, he's making great decisions with the ball and the Nuggets are actually scoring 1.45 points per possession on his passes. Even if you decrease that efficiency by 20 percent, you're still looking at a highly efficient offense being run by Mudiay when the defense is forcing him to move the ball.

Check out some of these plays below:

You can see the risk of the first jump pass, but it was calculated, and that's a big-time play. Watch a few of the others and you can clearly see those instincts, the way he navigates space and draws defenders. Some of these look like very basic plays, but sometimes the right play is simply not trying to do too much, and you can see Mudiay taking to that concept. 

Some nights, Mudiay will make a lot of this look really easy. Other nights, he'll make it look like he has no idea how to keep control of the basketball -- but you live with that when it comes to rookies because you want them honing their playmaking craft. Just don't let them bring that sloppiness into their second season. There's no room for that.

Emmanuel Mudiay will be sloppy at first and that's a good thing. (USATSI)
Emmanuel Mudiay will be sloppy at first and that's a good thing. (USATSI)