By Michael Fogliano
There is a reason why the Philadelphia 76ers drafted point guard Jrue Holiday out of UCLA when he was averaging just 8.5 points and 3.7 assists per game. The kid had potential, and a lot of it.
After the Sixers were criticized for not drafting Ty Lawson, Holiday's play clearly shut down all of the critics.
Although he only averaged eight points and 3.8 assists per game his rookie season, he was only receiving about 24 minutes per game. But either way, you could still see the talent he brought to the table.
This past season, Holiday showed huge improvement. He improved on his outside shot tremendously, he developed court vision of a veteran, he is becoming a smarter player and proved that he could lead a team to the playoffs.
The one thing that gets me about Holiday is his poise. He is so comfortable at conducting the offense and directing traffic. It's so rare to see that from such a young player.
As a result, he finished in the top ten among point guards in steals, rebounds, double-doubles and just outside the top ten in scoring and assists.
Holiday, who is just 21 years old, is doing all of this in just his second year of his career. In other words, he is just getting started and there is much more to come.
Jrue is the second youngest player on the squad, but arguably the most talented. If Andre Iguodala is dealt, then responsibility of being the number one falls in the hands of Holiday.
Holiday shined in the postseason scoring double digits in all five games, reaching 20 and 19 in two games against the Miami Heat. The Heat ! Did I mention he is only 21?
What he has already accomplished at his age is something that must be recognized. In my opinion, Holiday is starting to declare himself as one of the better point guards in the league, soon to be in the likes of the elite Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and Rajon Rondo.
Last season the Sixers went an even 41-41. This year is one year later-- one year of learning, maturing and growing as a team, and learning about each other, especially Holiday. Things will only get better.
Holiday is a star in the making and will play an even bigger part to the team next season (if there is one that is).
Perhaps the "number one" responsibility may not fall in his hands this upcoming season, but when it does, Holiday will be ready.