With all the negativity surrounding the Sixers’ 2012-2013 campaign, there is a lone bright spot, and he goes by the name of Jrue Holiday. Jrue made drastic improvements in every area of his game from a season ago. With the team cutting ties with Andre Iguodala and Louis Williams, the fourth-year point guard out of UCLA became the primary ball-handler. This unquestionably accelerated his growth.
Season Grade : A-
Heading into this season, expectations were as high as ever in Philly. On August 10th, the Sixers landed All-Star center, Andrew Bynum, in a blockbuster deal. Unfortunately for the Sixers, they became victims of the Andrew Bynum saga. With his ailing knees, Bynum continued to give us hope that he would return. At first it was before the All-Star break, and then week after week, it became more apparent the big man would never suit of for Philadelphia. Regardless, there is a silver lining in this epic failure of a season. Jrue Holiday made his first All-Star appearance, and proved himself to be more than worthy of the four year contract extension worth $44 million he signed. On the season, Jrue averaged close to 18 points, 8 assists, and 4 rebounds with a Player Efficieny Rating of 16.74. All of those numbers were easily career-highs for the Sixers’ point guard. The epitome of his success this season was his coming in a game in January at Phoenix where Jrue recorded his first career triple-double.
Along with all of his offensive improvements, Holiday showed glimpses of a more than capable defender. With his size at 6’4″ and long arms, he can cause problems for opposing point guards. There were times in the season that Jrue was locked in defensively, and when he was, it showed. In a match-up with the Cleveland Cavaliers, he clearly frustrated Kyrie Irving for the entirety of the game. To reach his full potential, Jrue needs to be focused on defense at all times, on and off the ball. He seemed to be uninterested in defending at times and it showed. His man would blow right by him and get right to the basket, either to finish or create for a teammate.
Taking the Next Step:
For Jrue Holiday to take the next step in becoming one of the NBA’s elite point guards, he will need to improve his ball security. While most of them came from simply being aggressive and trying to create for others, his 3.7 turnovers per game is unacceptable. Adding more of a supporting cast will lower that number without question, making it less of a hassle for Jrue to try to force himself to get open looks for his teammates.
Additionally, his focus on the defensive end needs to become more consistent. At times, he was brilliant, proving to be a lock-down defender potentially, but far too often, Jrue seemed to be more worried about his missed shot or turnover at the other end. Playing both sides of the ball on a more consistent basis will truly launch the development of this star-in-the-making.
All in all, it was a successful season for Jrue Holiday. He struggled across the finish line, but it seemed as though it was pure exhaustion from shouldering the load for an entire NBA season. In a season filled with disappointment, disgust, and angst, Jrue Holiday provided a silver lining.