How Philadelphia 76ers' Jrue Holiday Is Proving His Contract Naysayers Wrong
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You get one more chance to understand that Holiday was worth every penny of the four-year, $41 million deal that he received.
The man is having a ridiculous career year and needs to be recognized. He's stepped up in nearly every facet of the game, become a leader on the floor and a consistent and reliable player.
Philly spent the cash, but it looks like it made the right decision and then some.
Here's why Holiday is proving all the naysayers wrong.
Productivity Must be Holiday's Middle Name
It's still early in the season, but Holiday is having a big year and doesn't look to be slowing down.
His 38 minutes a game is part of the reason why he's playing well. He's simply getting more time on the floor.
Getting minutes is nice, but it means nothing if he doesn't produce. Fortunately, he's producing at a very high level.
He's averaging 18.4 points and 8.6 assists per game. Not to mention, he's also fifth on the team in rebounds with 4.1 per game.
Add that to his 18.4 points and it means that he's contributing 34 points a game. The number has the potential to be higher, as some of his assists could come on three-point shots.
Holiday's shooting is also off the charts. He's shooting nearly 44 percent from three-point range while averaging 3.4 threes per game. That isn't a small number of shots from out deep.
His one red flag has to be his turnover rate. Averaging 4.7 per contest is not close to good, but he's adjusting to his new "superstar" guard role. There will be some rough spots.
In the end, it's really nothing to be concerned about.
His game is reflective of the kind of guy who deserves a $41-million deal, the kind of guy who can be looked at as a franchise player.
Holiday's Defense is Moving Toward an Elite Level
Most of Holiday's statistics come from the offensive end of the floor, but what about his defense? How does he contribute on that end of the court?
Let's just say that he's been putting on a few clinics this season.
His elite size at 6' 4", 205 pounds allows him to contest any guards that get to the basket, and good luck to all point guards trying to get past him. Holiday might be tall, but that doesn't mean that he struggles with staying between his man and the basket.
On November 18th, Holiday faced Kyrie Irving, one of the NBA's quickest point guards. With the clock ticking down in the fourth quarter of the tightly contested game, Holiday found himself on an island as he tried to guard Irving one-on-one without any help from his teammates.
This was the definition of a crucial possession and his defense couldn't have been better.
Holiday has brought an intensity to the court that is difficult to find, and a lot of it comes from his defense.
If you thought that Philadelphia was buying his offensive growth with the extension, you would have been missing a large chunk of the picture. Holiday is also an outstanding defender. Keeping him on the Sixers provides the team with a lock-down defender for years to come.
Holiday is a Leader
Philly.com's Bob Cooney wrote about Sixers head coach Doug Collins,being excited about the extension. Collins seemed as though he couldn't have been happier about keeping Holiday:
I'm thrilled. There is not a better kid in the world than Jrue Holiday, nobody better. His family, the way he carries himself every day, the way he has grown. I'm so comfortable with that ball being in his hands at the end of the game. You can just see his growth.Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
Jrue wanted to be here. To me, it's a lot being said when a player says, 'This is my home and I want to stay.' Usually, guys who do that are very productive and effective. I think he has All-Star talent. I think he can be in the top five in assists. I think he can be a tremendous defender. I felt all along [that Holiday could be that foundation].
Clearly, Philly's management wanted to keep Holiday in a Sixers jersey. They see the ins and outs of what he does on a daily basis and felt as if he was a good person to represent the team.
It's an absolutely beautiful thing that they did, too.
All it takes is one game to recognize how Holiday handles himself. It's difficult to tell what's happening in the game if you look at his face. His personality is consistent and steady in a way that helps to keep his game from getting out of hand.
Holiday is rarely out of control and that directly correlates with how he handles himself on the floor.
The Future Looks Very Bright
This is Holiday's fourth season and he's only 22 years old. Yes, you read that correctly, he's only 22 years old.
Did the Sixers make the right decision in giving him a 4-year, $41 million extension?
He has about two more years until he hits the beginning of his prime, but he's already putting up scary numbers.
Just imagine where he'll be in five years.
Now, the Sixers' extension is only for four years, but this gives Philly the opportunity to see how much he'll progress in the next few years so that it's sure about his future.
Philadelphia couldn't have made a better decision in extending his contract. The Sixers are making anybody that doubted them look bad.
Really, really bad.
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