On Sunday afternoon, it was reported that Boston Celtics’ point guard Rajon Rondo tore his ACL and will be out for the season. It is never a good thing when someone gets hurt, but the Philadelphia 76ers must be ecstatic. This means two things. First, the Sixers will have a much more likelier chance of beating the Celtics for the 8th seed, and second that Jrue Holiday may have a chance at starting in his first career All-Star game. Although he was selected as a reserve, with Rondo out of the mix the Eastern Conference coach will have to decide whether he wants to start Jrue Holiday or Kyrie Irving. Both of these players are extremely talented, but they are playing on teams that are severely struggling. Lets take a look at how these two compare in certain categories:
Both of these players have proven that they can score at will this season. Jrue Holiday has 4 games with 30+ points, only to be out-shined by Kyrie Irving’s 11 including 2 games with 40+ points. Irving is not only shooting more efficiently from the field, but from beyond the arc as well. Irving is definitely a better shot creator than Jrue with his quick crossovers and other dribble moves.
Advantage: Kyrie Iriving
Holiday and Irving are both tremendous when it comes to finishing around the basket. Irving is certainly fancier and more aggressive, but Holiday is more efficient. Kyrie averages about 5.3 free throw attempts, which is a testament to his aggression around the rim but Holiday can put the ball in the basket. In his short time in the NBA, Irving has been well-known for his great finishes. These two players are slight close to even when it comes to finishing, but Irving just gets the nod.
Advantage: Kyrie Irving
The Cleveland Cavaliers are a team that is deficient in talent. Due to this deficiency, it is hard for a point guard like Kyrie Irving to get his teammates involved. If he wants to elevate his game to the next level, he is going to have to find a way to make his teammates better. Steve Nash made Amar’e the All-Star that he was, just as Deron Williams helped make Brook Lopez (Rondo’s roster replacement for 2013 All-Star Game) the All-Star that he is. What separates Holiday from Irving is the way Holiday gets teammates involved. Holiday is averaging 8.9 assists per game and players like Nick Young, Evan Turner, and Spencer Hawes are making their impact on the game with the help of Holiday. He is definitely the better distributer.
Advantage: Jrue Holiday
Philadelphia has a lot of great shooters on their team, who expect to get good looks when they’re open and Holiday allows them to get off their open shots. His court vision is displayed mostly when he is working on the fast break or on isolations. Irving certainly sees the floor well also, but he does not show it as often. Numbers can sometimes be deceiving, because both players may hit open teammates, but they either miss the shot or head to the free throw line.
Advantage: Jrue Holiday
Kyrie Irving is a spectacular ball handler and his crossover maneuvers allow him to get easy shots. This is a major part of the reason he was voted to be the 2012 NBA Rookie of the Year. His dribbling abilities at the age of 20 are unreal and he can only get as better. They might not be as quick as Allen Iverson’s but they are just as effective. Holiday has a few good moves but they are more ball fakes around the rim. Irving uses his moves to get open, while Holiday uses his size and strength.
Advantage: Kyrie Irving
Both players are solid on-ball defenders, but Irving’s speed and quickness allows him to force turnovers. He is currently averaging 1.8 steals per game. Holiday is no slouch either, he is averaging 1.4 steals per game and he is top 15 for point guards. Most recently, Holiday forced a young, rising point guard John Wall to 9 points on 3-12 shooting from the field. Irving is good for speed and quickness, but Holiday forces his opponents to take bad shots and he creates opportunities for his team to score in transition.
Last season, it was not clear who’s team it was, because Andre Iguodala, Jrue Holiday, and Evan Turner could lead the team on any given day. This year without Iguodala, Jrue Holiday has asserted himself as a true leader on and off the court. He sets the tempo for the team on the court, and gives them added motivation off the court. Kyrie Irving is a young player. He was 1 and done at Duke, with only 10 games played and is in his second NBA season. I do not believe he is quite ready to be the vocal leader for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but he serves as a good role model on the court.
Advantage: Jrue Holdiay
Based on these seven categories that are essential to today’s point guards, it is unclear who truly deserves to start in place of Rondo. If you are looking for an entertaining player with fancy moves, Kyrie Irving is the man. But, if you are interested in watching an All-Star game with great fluidity in the offense, Holiday is the way to go.