Jrue Holiday is 21 years old and the point guard of the future for the Philadelphia 76ers. The potential he possesses – both offensively and defensively – is among the highest in the league as far as young point guards are concerned. That said, his struggles on the offensive side of the ball have been a bit concerning.
Looking at last night's advanced box score via Hoop Data highlight the concerns I've had with Jrue all season. He tied for a team-high 17 points, but it took him 15 shots to get there. Of his 15 shots, eight were of the long two variety – the least efficient shot in basketball. Conversely, Jrue only attempted three shots at the rim and shot one free throw.
Ranking 19 of 30 in true shooting percentage among starting point guards, Jrue needs to become a more efficient player, and due so by attacking the basket and getting to the free throw line more often. Of the 30 starting point guards Jrue is 14th in usage rate (percentage of offensive possessions used by player), but 19th in attempts at the rim and 29th in free throw rate. To add insult to injury, Jrue ranks eighth in long two point attempts.
His shot selection isn't his only deficiency this season as he ranks 25 of 30 among starting point guards in assist-to-turnover ratio.
I'm fully aware of all the counter arguments and excuses. Jrue's only 21! Small sample size! Yeah, but he's making 46% of his long two pointers! He doesn't get as many assists because the team is full of great set-up men! None of these statements are false, but the fact remains that Jrue has been relatively inefficient this season and has taken on the role, more often than not, as the dreaded shoot-first point guard.
It's not a matter of ability. I know Jrue can be a great set-up man, because I've seen stretches where he distributed brilliantly. I also know he's capable of attacking the basket, because I've seen some tremendous takes, utilizing his body control and change-of-pace quickness.
Because Jrue has improved his jumper tremendously in three seasons, he's fallen in love with it, but in order for him to continue to develop properly and the team to succeed, he needs to cut down on the long two pointers and become average at drawing fouls, at least.
Maybe I expect too much out of the 21 year-old, but this is his third season and I've yet to see any improvement offensively.