Shabazz Napier blames poor summer league play on NBA basketballs

William Lou
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports / reuters

Well, that's certainly one way to explain 38 turnovers over nine games.

After leading UCONN to the NCAA championship last season, Miami Heat point guard Shabazz Napier struggled in Orlando Summer League this summer, especially with respect to turnovers. Napier, however, has an unique explanation for that.

"The funny thing is, I never really touched an NBA ball until I left school," Napier told Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press. "I told myself I never wanted to. I felt like it was superstitious, like something bad was going to happen, like I had to earn it. I never touched it and it's definitely different. This ball is leather and the biggest thing for me now is getting comfortable with it."

To Napier's credit, fellow Heat rookie Tyler Johnson also agreed that there's an adjustment to be made between playing with the official NCAA tournament balls - which are produced by Wilson - and the Spalding-created NBA basketballs. Spalding's product is encased with leather, whereas Wilson balls are made of composite leather and embossed with butyl rubbers.