Call that play, Jrue. - Howard Smith - USA Today Images
Any reasonably good news about the Sixers these days must be emphasized.
With Thaddeus Young hurt, Andrew Bynum potentially a ghost, and Evan Turner.... deep sigh.... whatever...., Jrue Holiday is almost hilariously alone among bright spots on the Sixers right now. And though he's struggled lately (shooting way under 40% in six February games), the team would not only be even MORE unwatchable without him, they'd cease to exist entirely. He is also my Valentine.
Jrue is right in the conversation for Most Improved Player, having improved his percentages almost across the board from last year. The assist rate is the most startling development, nearly doubling from last season to over 40%. That means that while he's on the court, more than 40% of non-Jrue field goals are assisted by Jrue. Beast.
It's no surprise then, that as a master of his craft, Jrue has been awarded a spot in the NBA All-Star Skills Competition. It's a little more surprising that the dude is favored to win.
Here are your odds:
Jrue Holiday 3/1
Tony Parker 7/2
Damian Lillard 7/2
Jeremy Lin 4/1
Brandon Knight 11/2
Jeff Teague 11/2
I can't believe Vegas put Jrue over TP, who's won this event for like 45 years running, but as my dear multi-ethnic friend Patrick reminded me today: "Vegas always knows." So Jrue was the popular bet and they put him at the top. Wild. I kinda feel like Brandon Knight is a nice sleeper pick for no other reason than I don't like him and guys I don't like usually do well in things.
I'd love for him to win, not only because he is The Man, but because the Sixers could use some good PR and a Skills Competition trophy would look nice on the mantle. Anybody planning on making this bet? Tanner will -- he just won hundreds of dollars off the Bobcats and Raptors covering this week.
He's also got 25/1 odds at winning the All-Star Game MVP. Ahead of the likes of Paul George, Chris Bosh, Tim Duncan, and DAVID LEE. Just behind fellow Skills Comp contestant Tony Parker. That'd be something else.
I'm just so thrilled they signed him for as cheap as they did this offseason. Dude's gonna be good here for a long time.