Better Know a Draft Pick: Jrue Holiday

Monday, June 29, 2009

This week I'm going to examine the three BayHawks-affiliate picks from last Thursday's NBA Draft: Philadelphia's 17th overall selection, and Cleveland's 30th and 46th overall selections. Up first, I'll look at the 76ers' lone draft choice, UCLA guard Jrue Holiday.

The Good
This pick was a no-brainer from Philadelphia's perspective. Many experts had Holiday pegged as a lottery pick, and talent-wise that seemed about right. Apparently some concerns about a shoulder injury were enough to keep some teams at bay, enabling the one-and-done UCLA Bruin to slide to the Sixers at pick 17.

Holiday views himself as a point guard, which may explain his less-than-stellar freshman year performance playing off the ball due to the presence of UCLA's senior point guard Darren Collison, who was selected four picks after Holiday. To see the best of Holiday's game, you have to look back to high school where Holiday's game earned him status as a consensus top-five recruit.

From Philadelphia's perspective, Holiday is the point guard of the future. With Andre Miller as a free agent, the Sixers needed some insurance at the position, and Holiday gives them that.

The Bad
The Sixers are a team that's made the playoffs two straight seasons with Andre Miller as a key cog. Holiday has the talent to become a solid NBA point guard, but his potential may take a few years to develop, especially since his creativity and playmaking ability was somewhat stifled by circumstances beyond his control at UCLA.

Philadelphia has taken a series lead in each of the past two first rounds only to see it disappear disappointingly. It's hard to imagine a rookie point guard bringing the necessary poise to the position this year to change this season's outcome.

The Unknown
Having played just one year in college, there are a lot of question marks about Holiday's game. His college numbers are mediocre: 8.5 points, 45 percent shooting, 3.7 assists, 2.1 turnovers per game. But the biggest unknown is his leadership ability, his ability to take command of the team. In the NBA, that's an essential element from a point guard, and playing in Collison's shadow at UCLA, Holiday was never really asked to do that in his short college career.

The chances he'll see playing time for the Erie BayHawks
5 percent: The Sixers didn't make much use of the D-League last year, and given Holiday's stature, he'll likely be expected to fill a role on the team immediately, especially if Miller is allowed to leave via free agency.

Final Thoughts
This was a quality pick by the 76ers. While it's true that they don't totally know what to expect out of Holiday as a pro, he fit their need for a young point guard, and he was also one of the best overall talents left on the board when they made the pick.


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About this blog/blogger

Blog Talk BayHawk is an unofficial Erie BayHawks blog covering the NBA D-League. It features opinions and information about the NBADL and the Erie BayHawks. Blog Talk BayHawk is written from a basketball fan’s perspective to fill In the gaps left by professional journalists’ coverage of BayHawks basketball and the Erie professional basketball scene.

Matt Hubert is a 25-year-old writer and basketball fanatic born and raised in Erie, Pa. He graduated from Mercyhurst College in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in English and a dual concentration in writing and creative writing. Matt's not wavering from his stance as a lifelong Los Angeles Lakers fan, but he will cover the BayHawks' NBA affiliates in Cleveland and Toronto when it makes sense to do so throughout the year.

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