Philadelphia 76ers' talented point guard Jrue Holiday entered this season with great expectations. With the addition of Andrew Bynum, it was largely up to Holiday and Evan Turner to make great strides to turn this team into a force to be reckoned with.
In the offseason, I wrote that the Sixers were in fact contenders after the deal that returned Bynum and Jason Richardson. Bynum's dominance and Richardson's impact were taken as a given. Though both have been injured—most notably Bynum, who has yet to fully participate with his team—we still have seven samples of work from Holiday and Turner.
Both players deserve their own pieces, so I will defer until later to discuss Turner. Jrue Holiday, though, after his performance Monday night, has me churning inside.
On one hand, Holiday delivered 25 points on 10-of-18 shooting. On the other hand, he continued to pile up his league-high turnover count with eight more turnovers.
No, that's not a typo. I did just write eight!
Coming into last night's game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Holiday averaged 5.7 turnovers per contest. I will give him his deserved credit for averaging 9.5 assists after the first six games, which was third in the NBA. However, he should (ironically) be extremely disappointed to lead the likes of James Harden, Kevin Durant, Deron Williams, Kyrie Irving, Kobe Bryant and former Sixer Andre Iguodala in turnovers per night.
Despite the several turnovers Holiday had early in Monday's loss to the Bucks, I was very pleased with his effort after the end of the third quarter (he had six turnovers at this point). He sat on the bench to start the fourth, and I was eager for coach Doug Collins to get him back into the game.
Philadelphia looked to be slipping, and Jrue hit the floor with Philly trailing by four and 6:26 to play. I was expecting a "turning-of-the-tides" type of exclamation to his performance; the Sixers would get none of that.
Holiday committed two costly turnovers in a span of 83 seconds. Not only were they egregious, but they were during what I like to call "winning time."
Basketball games are often won and lost in certain stretches of play. In some games, they happen in the first quarter when a team extends a margin to an insurmountable lead and tears the heart out of the opponent early. Some games are won with an overwhelming performance to start the second half.
In this game, it was during a three-minute span starting at the halfway point of the fourth quarter, around when Jrue Holiday entered the game.
I love Jrue Holiday. He is undoubtedly my favorite Sixer and one of my favorite players in the NBA. I've loved what I've seen from him regarding his commitment to aggressiveness on the offensive end. But as the leader of Philadelphia basketball team, he needs to balance his aggressiveness with control.
Doug Collins has lost even more of what little hair he still has over Jrue's turnover rate, but I'm positive he's in his young point guard's ear as often as possible to curtail these miscues.
It's still early, and there is plenty of practice time to sort these things out (let alone a change in offensive strategy when a certain someone suits up for Philadelphia), but Holiday has really blemished his otherwise awesome start to the season with sloppiness and carelessness with the basketball.
Perhaps the fact that he shares this issue with other NBA All-Stars means that it's just a commonality for those who dominate the ball and those adjusting to a new season.
Either way, let's hope young Jrue doesn't top this list a month from now, but is connected to these stars in another way come February.