Besides an outside shot at a top 3 pick, Jrue Holiday was the best thing to happen to the Sixers this season. Whether you think he's a franchise building block, or a project with a long way to go -- one thing's for sure -- Jrue was an absolute steal at pick 17. #Jruth
I didn't know much about Jrue when he was drafted. Unlike this year -- when all I've been researching is the draft -- my attention was focused on the playoff run. With a pick in the late teens I decided to let the chips fall where they may and be happy with whomever the Sixers selected. As the draft crept closer, I became enamored with Stephen Curry, Ty Lawson and Eric Maynor, in that order. Jrue wasn't even on my radar. Number one, I assumed he'd be gone by pick 17. Number two, I thought he was a tweener, because that's what I had read. Needless to say, I wasn't happy when he was taken over Lawson and Maynor.
Thirty seconds after the pick -- and the initial disappointment -- I talked myself into Holiday. (I don't know if it's just me, but regardless of what I think of a player going into the draft, once my favorite team's logo flashes next to his name a chemical reaction goes off in my head and I immediately fall in love with him. Let me know if this happens to anyone else, or I might have to get it checked out.) But he really won me the day I nearly popped a blood vessel in my eye trying to watch the Sixers summer league games online. Jrue's man-to-man defense was really impressive. Granted, it was the summer league, but it was the first time I thought, "Hey, this kid could be good."
Jrue's man-to-man defense remained stellar for the entire season, and his offense came around quicker than anyone expected. One of the biggest knocks on him coming into the league was his lack of a three-point shot; he shot a lowly 30% from beyond in college. So what does he do? He comes in, works on his jumper, and finishes the season shooting 39% from downtown.
I think David Thorpe said it best when he wrote:
I see almost no holes in his future. He can shoot, handle, pass, think and defend. And he's got a great body to do those things for years to come. If he gets mentored smartly, he can be a Chauncey Billups-type, a multi-time All-Star leading his team as one of its top two players.
If he's asked to be more of a role player, he'll be a Derek Fisher-type -- a key component to lots and lots of winning. Either way, his future is extremely bright.
Either way, unless a small miracle happens and the Sixers draft John Wall, it looks like they have themselves a point guard for the next decade-plus.
3 things to work on
- Drawing fouls - getting to the line 1.8 times/per 36 isn't going to cut it.
- Off-ball defense - Could've been a product of Eddie Jordan's switch-and-ditch defensive system.
- Shot off the dribble - (Insert Synergy stats)
- On-ball defense
- Court Vision
- Three-point shot
- The lineup Jrue played the second most minutes with (159), had a 98.6 defensive rating.
- Jrue drew (whoa!) fouls at a rate (6.5%) lower than all but two players on the Sixers roster -- Jodie Meeks (6.2%) and Jason Kapono (1.6%).