Don’t sleep on Jrue Holiday. He’s up for a solid 2012-13 NBA season. That’s the short version. Read on for a more in-depth understanding as to “Why”.
As I discussed in my spotlight on Serge Ibaka, this is a series of posts on players from an owner’s perspective from a previous season.
I had Holiday as a keeper in two leagues where I carried him over from the 2010-11 season to the most recent 2011-12 season. So I am all too familiar with the ups and downs of his recently volatile fantasy value.
I opted to take Jrue as a keeper in two leagues because at the time of my decision after hearing words of praise and respect from Coach Doug Collins. Holiday finished the 2010-11 season with very encouraging averages of 14 PPG, 6.5 APG, 4.0 RPG, 1.5 SPG and 1.0 3PPG. He shot 44.6% from the field and 82.3% from the line across the 82 games he played in his sophomore year. Call me silly, but that sure as hell looked promising to me.
Unfortunately, Holiday didn’t live up to that promise last season. What happened? Two words. Andre Iguodala.
Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
Let’s face it. Up until Iguodala was traded to Denver in the “Dwight Howard Blockbuster“, the Sixers were his team. Brand (Elton) was just the token vet being nurtured for a comeback, and Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young were the role-players, and Holiday was the young project for the future. The truth of the matter was that along with Collins’ praise for the potential he was seeing in Jrue, he was also motivating Iguodala to do more, be more active and facilitate things on the court. It was something that was natural for Andre. His high basketball I.Q., combined with the athleticism that allowed him to slash hard to the hoop make him one of the best point-forwards in the NBA today. With the offense often flowing through Iguodala’s capable hands and him orchestrating the plays, Holiday was at times forced to play off the ball and seemed occasionally lost when it was time for him to BE the point guard or just another cutter into the lane. With last season only being his third in the NBA, it was understandable how he would respectfully defer to his coach’s calls and to the veteran Iguodala. As a consequence though, his overall production suffered drops across the board. Needless to say 2011-2012 was not a very fantasy-friendly season for Holiday. His step back garnered him averages of 13.5 PPG, 4.5 APG, 3.3 RPG, 1.6 SPG, 1.0 3PPG, and 43.2% shooting from the field. Those were definitely NOT the numbers I wanted to see from my keeper point guard and frankly, I was going to abandon Holiday as a keeper altogether.
It’s my understanding that the frustrations I experienced last season with Holiday were caused, largely in part by the role, talent, and function of Andre Iguodala that has allowed me to shift my outlook on Holiday a full 180 degrees. Bottom line is that Iguodala and Lou Williams are both gone and Holiday has Royal Ivey and rookie Maalik Wayns behind him on the Sixers’ depth chart. The team added a solid, young center in Andrew Bynum and replacement token “comeback vet” in Jason Richardson, both of whom will only serve to be assist targets inside the paint and outside on the wings respectively.
Naysayers would probably bring up Evan Turner, whose game has been both loosely and generously compared to that of Iguodala’s. Oddly enough, I believe that the comparison of Turner’s impact on Holiday’s fantasy game to how Andre Iguodala stifled it is just apples and oranges. Turner is still young and joined the team right after Holiday, so on that note they have a better chance to grow together as opposed to developing games that compete for the ball. If anything, I would say that both Turner and Holiday play quite well together and even have an on-court connection.
Being optimistic that Holiday will be better now that he will ideally have free reign to run the Sixers’ offense, it would be better to look at his 2010-11 numbers as the starting point. If you extrapolate gains from there, it isn’t hard to see why I’m confident that he’ll be able to deliver solid middle-round value come draft day. It shouldn’t be too difficult to visualize a more mature, more confident, and more capable version of this…
On a side note, with Andre Iguodala now playing and likely starting in Denver, I wouldn’t be too surprised if he will be able to steal away some of the thunder that Ty Lawson was able to amass last season. Frankly, I’m not too concerned it. George Karl loves Ty Lawson and Lawson should still end up producing high-caliber PG numbers, but all of that would be for yet another post if at all.
It will be both interesting and exciting to see how far Jrue Holiday will be able to spread his wings this season. And with Andre Iguodala out of the picture in Philly, Holiday’s confidence in himself will be his biggest obstacle. That being said, Jrue this one’s for you.
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