Putting Jrue Holiday in Perspective

I want to start by saying that I am a Jrue Holiday fan. I believe he'll develop into a pretty good point guard someday, but the notion that he's a future star or currently "great" at any facet of his game -- including defense -- is premature. 

I've been down this road before. A Sixers rookie comes in, shows flashes, has a few good games and all of a sudden the words "star" and "great" are thrown around like fist pumps on the Jersey Shore. It happened with Thaddeus Young, and it happened with Marreese Speights. Now they're both considered one-dimensional bench players with questionable upside.

Sadly, I was the guy driving the Young and Speights bandwagons when they crashed and burned. In both cases Sixers fans (me included) continually bashed the head coach and clamored for more playing time. And in both cases we got our wish:

2007-2008 Thaddeus Young

November: 8 minutes per game

April: 29 minutes per game

2008-2009 Marreese Speights

November: 13 minutes per game

April: 21 minutes per game

2009-2010 Jrue Holiday

November: 14 minutes per game

March: 28 minutes per game

Add Jrue Holiday to the recent list of rookies who saw their playing time increase significantly and showed flashes of brilliance down the stretch. Add Jrue Holiday to the recent list of rookies who were dubbed the next big thing, future all-stars, franchise-players, etc. Now that we've seen Young and Speights fall flat on their face, should we hype the Jrue Holiday with caution?

Just like there's no guarantee Jrue Holiday's going to be a "star", there's no guarantee he's going to follow in the footsteps of Young and Speights. But having made the same mistake twice already, I've refrained from watching a Sixers game and saying, "Ma, Jrue's going to be star in this league!" Instead, I've relied on an arsenal of advanced statistics to put Jrue's rookie season in perspective. 

Make the jump ...

First let's compare Holiday's advanced stats with the other rookie point guards who went in the first round: 


PER TS% eFG% ORB% DRB% TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG% ORtg DRtg OWS DWS WS
Jrue Holiday 10.9 .502 .475 3.5 8.9 6.2 21.8 2.0 0.9 20.1 18.1 98 111 -0.1 0.6 0.5
Tyreke Evans 18.5 .535 .479 2.6 12.4 7.5 25.0 2.1 0.8 13.3 26.0 108 110 3.2 1.4 4.5
Jonny Flynn 13.4 .510 .460 1.2 8.3 4.7 24.5 1.8 0.1 17.3 24.4 98 112 -0.2 0.7 0.5
Stephen Curry 14.7 .560 .526 1.5 11.6 6.5 22.8 2.4 0.4 17.3 20.6 104 110 1.6 1.4 3.0
Brandon Jennings 14.7 .468 .422 1.9 10.6 6.0 30.6 2.0 0.6 12.9 26.3 99 104 0.2 2.9 3.1
Ty Lawson 16.8 .605 .560 4.1 7.0 5.6 24.2 1.8 0.1 15.6 18.1 119 110 2.8 0.7 3.5
Jeff Teague 10.9 .430 .378 0.9 10.2 5.5 25.4 3.2 1.5 16.0 19.6 93 105 -0.3 0.7 0.3
Eric Maynor 11.1 .463 .430 2.1 9.6 5.9 30.3 1.8 0.7 18.4 18.1 98 106 0.0 1.0 1.0
Darren Collison 16.1 .533 .488 2.2 9.2 5.6 31.8 2.1 0.2 19.1 23.7 102 110 0.8 0.9 1.7
Rodrigue Beaubois 16.3 .608 .586 2.0 9.8 5.9 18.8 2.2 1.1 17.1 23.3 106 107 0.5 0.5 1.0
Toney Douglas 13.3 .564 .542 3.5 7.1 5.3 13.2 1.7 0.3 12.7 20.5 107 112 0.5 0.2 0.7

 

Jrue Holiday's rank (out of 11)

PER TS% eFG% ORB% DRB% TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG% ORtg DRtg OWS DWS WS
JRUE T10 8 7 T-2 8 3 9 T-6 3 11 T-9 T-7 9 9 9 T-9

 

Among his fellow PG mates, Jrue ranks in the top five of only three categories: Offensive rebound percentage, Total Rebounding Percentage, and Block percentage. 

***

Now let's compare Holiday's 'per 36' numbers with the same guys:


MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
Jrue Holiday 1072 4.5 10.8 .414 1.3 3.3 .402 1.3 1.6 .809 1.1 2.7 3.8 5.1 1.4 0.4 2.9 3.4 11.5
Tyreke Evans 2152 7.2 15.6 .463 0.5 1.9 .261 4.8 6.4 .744 0.8 3.9 4.7 5.3 1.5 0.4 2.8 2.8 19.7
Jonny Flynn 1832 6.3 14.9 .422 1.1 3.2 .358 3.3 4.0 .816 0.4 2.6 3.0 5.4 1.3 0.0 3.5 1.7 17.0
Stephen Curry 2227 6.1 13.3 .456 1.8 4.4 .416 2.1 2.4 .878 0.5 3.7 4.2 5.4 1.8 0.2 3.0 3.2 16.1
Brandon Jennings 2052 6.1 16.7 .366 1.9 4.9 .383 3.1 3.9 .809 0.6 3.2 3.9 6.6 1.4 0.3 2.7 2.4 17.2
Ty Lawson 1186 5.5 10.7 .514 1.0 2.2 .432 3.1 4.0 .773 1.2 2.2 3.5 5.6 1.3 0.1 2.3 2.5 15.1
Jeff Teague 511 4.3 11.8 .363 0.4 1.5 .227 2.2 2.5 .861 0.3 3.1 3.4 6.2 2.2 0.7 2.5 4.4 11.1
Eric Maynor 881 4.3 10.8 .400 0.7 2.2 .296 1.6 2.2 .736 0.6 3.1 3.7 7.2 1.3 0.3 2.7 3.2 10.9
Darren Collison 1390 6.3 13.7 .462 0.7 2.0 .346 2.7 3.2 .854 0.7 2.8 3.5 7.0 1.5 0.1 3.5 1.7 16.1
Rodrigue Beaubois 473 7.2 14.2 .511 2.1 5.3 .400 1.8 2.1 .821 0.6 3.1 3.7 4.0 1.5 0.5 3.1 4.2 18.3
Toney Douglas 471 6.3 13.5 .463 2.1 6.1 .350 1.4 1.6 .857 1.1 2.2 3.4 2.9 1.2 0.2 2.1 4.1 16.1

 

Jrue Holiday's rank (out of 11)

MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
JRUE 7 9 T-9 8 5 5 3 11 T10 T-7 T-2 8 4 9 T-6 T-3 7 8 9

 

Among his fellow PG mates, Jrue ranks in the top five of six categories: Three pointers made, Three pointers attempted, Three point percentage, Offensive Rebounding, Total Rebounding, and Blocks. 

***

On to Jrue's "terrific" defense, in comparison to the same guys:

Opponent Point Guard 48-Minute Production

eFG% AST T/O PTS PER
Jrue Holiday .538 9.0 3.2 20.8 19.6
Tyreke Evans .469 8.7 3.1 20.8 18.5
Jonny Flynn .486 11.3 3.8 20.8 18.8
Stepen Curry .522 10.2 4.2 24.1 20.1
Brandon Jennings .446 7.6 3.5 18.9 14.9
Ty Lawson .473 7.7 3.4 20.8 16.6
Jeff Teague .478 9.5 3.8 20.1 19.2
Eric Maynor* .400 6.9 3.0 17.1 12.2
Darren Collison .497 9.5 3.7 20.7 18.3
Rodrigue Beaubois .452 6.0 3.2 19.1 14.4
Toney Douglas .526 8.7 3.8 19.3 16.8

 

*These don't include Maynor's Utah numbers.

Jrue Holiday's rank (out of 11)

eFG% AST T/O PTS PER
JRUE 11 7 T-8 T-7 10

Among his fellow PG mates, Jrue ranks in the top five of zero categories.

***

Miscellaneous Defensive Statistics

Sixers Defensive Rating w/ Holiday: 110

Sixers Defensive Rating w/o Holiday: 108

-------------------------

Five lineups Jrue has played the most minutes with:

Holday, Iverson, Iguodala, Brand and Dalembert -- 138 minutes, 101 ORtg, 103 DRtg

Holiday, Green, Iguodala, Brand and Dalembert -- 104 minutes, 108 ORtg, 95 DRtg

Holiday, Green, Iguodala, Young and Dalembert -- 77 minutes, 101 ORtg, 124 DRtg

Holiday, Williams, Iguodala, Brand and Dalembert -- 62 minutes, 110 ORtg, 109 DRtg

Holiday, Williams, Iguodala, Young and Dalembert -- 42 minutes, 128 ORtg, 131 DRtg

Here are the same lineups (top 3) with Lou "Defensive Sieve" Williams substituted for Jrue Holiday:

Williams, Iverson, Iguodala, Brand and Dalembert -- 36 minutes, 101 ORtg, 117 DRtg

Williams, Green, Iguodala, Brand and Dalembert -- 12 minutes, 107 ORtg, 68 DRtg

Williams, Green, Iguodala, Young and Dalembert -- 77 minutes, 96 ORtg, 88 DRtg

 

The only lineup better defensively with Jrue instead of Lou is: Holiday, Iverson, Iguodala, Brand and Dalembert.

***

After digesting all these numbers (I know it's a lot), I can say with confidence that Jrue Holiday is nowhere near "great", and even his vaunted defense fails the numbers test. I've been on Basketball Reference82 gamesBasketball Value and Synergy Sports. I've yet to find statistical evidence saying otherwise. If I missed something, please enlighten me.

Jrue is nothing but a project. He's the youngest player in the league and oozing with potential. But please don't make the same mistake I made with Thaddeus and M16. Calling Jrue a "future star" or "a player you can build your team around" at this point in his career is a bit much. And calling him "great" or "one of the Sixers best players" this year, is not wise, in my opinion.

Jrue has all the tools -- so does Marreese Speights. But! Jrue has all the tools plus a great attitude and work ethic -- so does Thaddeus Young.

Sure, Jrue has his moments, but for every good moment, he has a bad moment. No one remembers the bad plays because they're either blinded by the hype or remember that he's a 19 year-old rookie. 

For the record, I hope Jrue Holiday is the next big thing. But there's a huge difference in hoping and expecting.

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