Philadelphia 76ers: Why Jrue Holiday Is A Bonafide All-Star

There is no question that Jrue Holiday, at the age of 22, has been the Philadelphia 76ers’ best player this season. The fourth year point guard is averaging 19 points and 9 assists per game. But he is also doing more than just that. He is scoring throughout the game, not just at the wrong times.

If you haven’t noticed, the Lakers struggle offensively. That is, Kobe Bryant scores more than ten points in the first quarter of almost every game (en route to all of his thirty point performances). Yes, the Sixers struggle offensively, too. But, Jrue scores steadily throughout the game. He usually has somewhere between five and ten points every first quarter. If he is coming off of a game where he struggled, he’ll come out strong and put up twelve to fourteen in the first. But, there is more to Jrue Holiday than a scorer and passer. There are other things about him that make the young man an All-Star.

1) Jrue Holiday Plays “Team” Basketball

Holiday is a top-flight point guard (via Wikimedia).

His ability to do this is Rajon Rondo-esque. The Sixers struggle offensively because they do not have consistent scorers. What they have, however, is a bunch of good shooters, a couple athletic players, and a few decent big men. But without Bynum, this team does not get the shots that they want unless they are on fast break. We see Nick Young make the highlight reel because he knocks down a fade away three to beat the shot clock, but that is not a good thing. That means that the guys on the floor are struggling to get off a good shot, so they just fire up a prayer.

Not a lot of teams, analysts, or the Sixers, themselves, have a lot of confidence in the abilities of most of the Sixers’ players. But, Jrue Holiday does. Jrue thinks much like Lebron because he thinks about the current situation and past that. For example, Jrue Holiday may have an advantage over another point guard’s defense. So, what he may he do is attack the basket, draw the double team, and kick it out to Nick Young for an open shot. Or, he may read the defense past the double-team and see a help defender drop. Then, he may kick it out to Nick Young and then tell him to pass to Jason Richardson for a nice jump shot.

Jrue Holiday thinks not just about himself, but of his teammates. He does not always want to score, but get his team on a roll. If Jrue has an open lane, he may want to take it in for an easy layup. But if he has a struggling teammate, he will run a play to get the struggling player involved. Whether it is a simple pass and screen away, or just a cut to the basket for an easy layup, Jrue tries to get the struggling teammate on a roll. He also thinks about all of his options. Jrue always tries to do what is best to win games. If he has an open three pointer and sees the defender running out to guard him, he’ll do a pump fake and fire it to the guy on the wing for a better shot. Jrue is also a very positive and confident player. Dorell Wright could be zero for ten from three-point range, but Jrue has all the confidence in the world that Dorell will make that eleventh shot. That confidence and positive thinking wins games and championships.

Point guards like Rajon Rondo, Magic Johnson, Jason Kidd, and many others are held in such high regards for their accomplishments in passing the ball. Why do they pass the ball? Because of their never-ending confidence in their teammates.

2) He Is A Composed, Clutch Performer

For a young guy who has been given the keys to the Sixers’ offense, Jrue is very calm. He is always willing to take the last shot. Any clutch basketball player can do four things: shoot, drive to the basket, make free throws, and play defense. Jrue Holiday is a good clutch performer because he keeps the defense guessing. He can shoot, but he can get to the basket quickly, too. So, the defense is on it’s “tip-toes” because they do not know what he will do. If Jrue gets fouled, he makes his free throws. This year, Jrue has made a few very tough shots to clinch victories.

He is also a smart late-game performer. A common characteristic of somewhat clutch players is to settle for the medium range jump shot. A good clutch performer takes it to the basket looking for the best shot. When a team fouls intentionally, Jrue goes to the line and knocks down his free throws. My point is, when it comes to end of games situations, Jrue Holiday is smart and capable of putting teams away.

3) Good Role-Model

Jrue Holiday has a poker face (never shows any emotion). Do we see No. 11 shaking at the end of games? Does he ever have a scared look on his face? No. Is he scared on the inside? Probably. Jrue never shows any emotion. He never gets overly excited or overly angry.

He never gets into fights with other players, gets called for technical fouls, or gets ejected. He is never in the news for doing something bad. Jrue Holiday is not some overconfident jerk, who gets in trouble with the league and with the law. He is a nice guy with good values. All fans love a good player who is a good person. I know I do.

4) Team Leader

The way Jrue Holiday runs the point reminiscent of, once again, Lebron James. Jrue is not the fastest guy on the court, but he gets the job done. When he runs the point, he plays the game one play at a time and makes sure to get the best shot possible. Like Lebron, he slows the game down on offense and facilitates the offense, resulting in a good play.

5) Determined to Win

If the Sixers need to regroup, he will take a timeout and give his teammates time to breathe. If the other team is making a run. Then, he will get a much needed bucket. If the Sixers fall behind, he will not let his team quit. He will keep them fighting until the buzzer sounds. He will not let his team down.

6) Holiday Has a Highlight Reel

Jrue has put together some great plays thus far. He has a number of very tough baskets in the paint that made the crowd go crazy at home, and silent on the road. He’s the type of player the country loves to see play.

7) Jrue Can Catch Fire

Jrue is turning into a guy who can carry a team. He has shown multiple times this year that he can close out games. He scores when the Sixers need a bucket the most. Jrue can turn it on and get a quick five points with two minutes left.

Jrue Holiday is a young guy, 22 years old to be exact. He has already proven so much. Jrue is the leader of the Sixers. The fourth year player works very hard to improve. He is the epitome of what an all-star is. Barely into his twenties, Jrue Holiday has shown that he has a quite a career ahead of him.


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Categories: 76ers, Editorial

Author:Austin Krell

Sixers beat writer and NBA analyst

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