Player Preview: Jrue Holiday

Yesterday I teased the player preview series and revealed the grading system I would be using. Today we begin the 14-player series with starting point guard, Jrue Holiday. I'll briefly review and grade his performance thus far, discuss his potential, give you one important stat, and wrap it up. Off we go.

Current (Grade:5.5)

Jrue's rookie year definitely had its ups and downs. He had to deal with the coach who shall not be named for the first half of the season, but finally got legitimate burn towards the end of the year -- and exceeded expectations. It's always difficult to judge a player on half of a good season, because every year a handful of players on bad teams put up impressive numbers down the stretch and are never heard from again. 

However; Jrue possesses a few skills that make me believe his impressive March and April last season were more than a flash in the pan. His man-to-man defense was his most impressive trait, and it he was fairly consistent throughout the year. The court vision and natural point guard abilities he showed were also impressive. These are two skills that normally don't come and go like racking up 20 points per game on a 20-win team in the last month of the season.

My grade of 5.5 might seem a little high to fans who haven't seen Jrue Holiday play on a regular basis, and might seem a little low to Sixers fans who believe he's the second coming, but I'm comfortable with giving him a 5.5 at this point in his career.

Potential (Grade:7.5)

Jrue's peak will fall somewhere in the 7-8 range on my grading scale. He should always be among the best defending point guards in the league, but I don't think his offense will ever be good enough to be considered an All-Star. His ceiling is a top 3 defending point guard, an efficient scorer and an above average floor general. 

One Stat You Need to Know

In 17 games last March Jrue shot 47% on jumpers between 16-23 feet. Here were his shooting percentages from 16-23 feet in the other months:

November: 21%

December: 31%

January: 33%

February: 35%

April: 56%

Jrue's steady improvement on his jumper from 16-23 feet is a microcosm of his impressive rookie season.

Outlook

I'm on record saying Jrue Holiday will have a monster sophomore season. The consistent improvement he's shown since the day he became a Sixer -- including the Summer League -- paired with the massive upgrade at head coach is a recipe for success.

Numbers-wise you'll see line similar to what he put up during the second half of last season -- 12 points, 6 assists, 1.5 steals -- but his impact will be felt way beyond that. 

Up Next: Lou Williams

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