Reaction: Sixers draft Jrue Holiday

Well, the NBA draft is officially over and I am quite pleased with the end result. As I stated 24 hours ago, the NBA draft is a special day for me -- a "Holiday" if you will (Sorry, I had to get that out of the way early.) -- so turning off the television and thinking to myself, "What a great night!" carries a lot of weight. That said, the evening didn't start out as peachy keen as it seemed. Let's flashback to 6:04 p.m....

jsams: We better take Maynor or Lawson, preferably Maynor.

chillicothe20: I feel the same.

jsams: We won't take Holiday, fear not.

TAFKAMB: I'll die if Holiday goes to us.

tsteidel: I'll cry.

jsams: Maynor, has to be.

(The pick is in -- PG Jrue Holiday)

Sexy T-Rex: oh ****

jsams: f me

tsteidel: and i'm dead

TAFKAMB: Kill me

Sexy T-Rex: I didn't want Holiday at all

chillicothe20: Damn it

TAFKAMB: hate this... hoping for a trade

tsteidel: I've lost all faith in ed

Wow, quite the reaction from the Sixers faithful -- me included. Things have changed since then. As I do with every move the Sixers make, I slowly convinced myself that it was for the best. For better or for worse, Jrue Holiday is a Philadelphia 76er. In the few short hours since he shook David Stern's hand and threw on the glorious 76ers hat, I've fallen in love with the former UCLA Bruin, and I'm going to do my best to convince you to do the same.

Why was I so against the Jrue Holiday selection in the first place? The answer is simple. I had my mind set on either Ty Lawson or Eric Maynor as early as three months ago. Jrue Holiday was not even on my radar. Here were the things I knew about him:

  • He underachieved big-time at UCLA.
  • He was widely viewed as a 'tweener' -- the opposite of what the Sixers needed.
  • He spelled his name in the most awesome way possible.
  • He was projected way before pick 17.
That last bullet point, "He was projected way before pick 17" caused me to completely neglect him and ignore him as a potential draft prospect. As most of you know, I follow the NCAA about as much as I follow 'The Hills' -- very little. I had no interest in researching prospects who had no chance of becoming Sixers. Whoops.

The moment the Sixers drafted Super Jrue, I honed in on everything the 'experts' had to say. I quickly googled him and read every piece of information I could find. I know much more know than I did then, and while he might not be the best point guard right now, I have the full confidence that he will end up being the best point guard not named Rubio, Flynn or Jennings.

What they're saying

"I'm most definitely a point guard," [Holiday] said. "I can distribute the ball. I can lock up on defense. I see myself as a point guard."
"Jrue is only 18, will be a beast," Iguodala tweeted. "kinda like dwade a little bit...nobody heard of dwade earlier in his college career either."
"We were unanimous as a staff that he if was there, we would take him," DiLeo said.

"We're ecstatic," Sixers Senior Vice President Tony DiLeo said shortly after the pick. "He's exactly what we wanted. He's 6-4 and a big guard. He can play a lot of different combinations."

"We're looking to the future with him," DiLeo said. "We're ecstatic to have him."

"We tried to move up a little bit, we couldn't move up, we feel very fortunate because most people had him going Top 10," said Tony DiLeo.
"He has great upside, displays aggressiveness on both ends of the court, has a great nose for the ball as well as the size and strength to play both guard positions," Stefanski said.
Holiday can take a huge sigh of relief. He slipped a bit, not because of his talent, but because of some concerns about a shoulder injury that were just enough to scare some teams away, a la what happened to Danny Granger with mild concerns about his knee a few years ago. This is a great pick for Philly, which gets a lottery talent at 17 and has its point guard of the future.
With Andre Miller's status up in the air for the 76ers, Holiday was a no-brainer at 17. Holiday is a bit of a tweener, not exactly a point guard or a shooting guard, but he is young enough (just turned 19) to learn the position and become their future point guard. How quickly he will help the 76ers is something that will be figured out, but Philly will still most likely try to re-sign the veteran Miller because it would be asking too much to hand the reigns over the Holiday so early in his career. He had inconsistencies at UCLA as a freshman, but showed enough talent to be drafted in the first round. After a season of grooming or two, Holiday could be one of the best players to come out of this draft when all said and done.
Dave Del Grande -- CBS Sportsline
Grade: A

Analysis: Perfect choice for team that might lose Andre Miller or could swing Andre Iguodala to forward if star point guard stays ... Have to wonder: If UCLA freshman knew he'd slip to 17, would he have stayed in school?

Why is he better than Maynor and Lawson?
  • Upside: Three years younger, number one rated point guard coming out of high school.
  • Size: 6'7'' wingspan compared to 6'0'' (Lawson), 6'2'' (Maynor).
  • Athleticism: Slightly better combine results.
How does he fit?

1. Jrue could be the back-up point guard on a legitimate contender if Andre Miller re-signs.

Jrue just turned 19 years old and has some of the most upside in his draft class. If Andre Miller re-signs, Holiday will be able to learn from a crafty veteran and gradually reach his potential. Worst case scenario, Holiday is a slightly better version of Royal Ivey this season.

If Holiday comes off the bench it would allow a trio of him, Lou and Kapono to be on the floor at the same time without sacrificing too much of the defense. Holiday would be able to focus on locking people down while Lou dominates the ball.

2. Jrue could be thrown into the fire and start from day one. (More likely scenario). This could change barring a trade or the signing of a MLE-point guard.

Some prospects thrive when they are handed the starting job from day one -- others struggle. I would rather see Holiday start on the bench and slowly develop into the player he can one day become. However; financial restrictions might prevent that from happening.

If Holiday is the starting point guard on opening night, I don't think the Sixers can contend for a title, much less get out of the first round. If that's the case they should consider launching "Full rebuilding mode" by ridding the team of Samuel Dalembert and Elton Brand.

YouTube

High School All American

Defense and Effort

Next D-Wade

One on One with Jrue

Jrue's Sacramento Kings workout

Jrue's Milwaukee Bucks workout

Draft Express interview

Draft Combine interview

The Ultimate Jrue Holiday Mix

More Links

Draft Express profile

ESPN profile

UCLA Biography

Truehoop: Holiday as a potential steal

Now you should know all you need to know about our new point guard. Oh yeah, his middle name is Randall, so we can call him Jrue (cool in itself), J.R. or Randy. The possibilities are endless.

P.S. I should have an exclusive Jrue Holiday scouting report in the coming days, so stay tuned. Until then...

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