Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner Can Become Next Philadelphia 76ers Star Duo
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Holiday and Turner are beginning to go from good young starters to great young stars, and they're putting an additional storyline in this season.
How much better can these guys get?
These two young players continually play each and every game like they have something to prove.
The best part about that is that they both do. Holiday wants to prove that he can become that elite point guard that so few teams have. Turner wants to prove that he was worthy of a high draft pick.
Take a look at almost any game and you'll see how they are quieting those concerns.
Here's a look at why Holiday and Turner can become Philly's next star duo.
Holiday's rookie season was spent as the youngest player in the league. The good news for Sixers fans is that he hasn't gotten much older since.
Now playing in his fourth season, he's only 22 years old and will be until June 12, 2013.
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This year's improvement over his first three seasons has been staggering. It's also pretty difficult to believe that he has made that leap over a one-year period. Of course, there is not any way for him to continue to make this big of a leap each and every year, but his rate of getting better is definitely something to take note of.
Turner isn't as young as Holiday, but they have made similar strides.
The Ohio State product is finally coming into his own after having lofty expectations on draft night back in 2010. The former No. 2 pick is only in his third season, and he looks like a different player from his first two years.
It's impossible to predict how much better Turner will get, but at only 24 years old, it's not out of the question to think that the answer to that prediction will be quite a bit.
We generally don't see players begin to peak until about 26 or 27, so he still has quite a bit of time to improve.
Being young doesn't last forever.
Both of these guys need to work toward getting better at every part of their game if they want to reach that star status.
As of now, they are certainly heading in the right direction.
Playing with some sort of confidence or swag is almost half of the battle. If a player doesn't think that he can do much—even when he has the skill to—then he just isn't going to get the job done.
Holiday has never really struggled too much with confidence, but he hasn't always known what to do when has been on the floor.
All of that has changed this year.
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It's clear that when he's on the floor, then he means business. It's about getting good shots for the team, playing good defense and being a leader.
He's carrying this sense of calm with him which evokes a positive response out of all the other Sixers.
Turner was the real question mark heading into this year. Where would his head be? Would he try and do too much, or would he sit back and become complacent?
Turner has done a good job of showing everyone that he means business and that he knows how to get it done.
Developing a jump shot which can extend to the three-point line has been his best friend thus far. Nothing can throw a player's confidence off more than a string of missed shots, so it's good to see him step up and knock jumpers down this year.
If you want to be a star, then you have to act like a star.
It's beginning to look like these guys are acting like just that.
This category pertains to Turner much more than Holiday, but that doesn't mean that Holiday doesn't do his part too.
Holiday's versatility comes from all of his offensive tools.
He'll knock the shot down if he's spotted up outside the arc for an open three. If you want to play him too tight, then he'll blow by his defender. One of his biggest areas of improvement has also been in his mid-range game.
Plus, how can we forget about how good of a passer he has become this past year?
Averaging 8.8 assists per game in 25 games is no fluke—the man can flat-out share the rock.
He's able to do nearly everything except for have a solid post game. We'll let that go given the fact that he's a point guard and shouldn't spend much time down there anyway.
Turner, on the other hand, could be one of the most versatile players in the NBA.
And no, that's not a stretch at all.
Having a 6' 7" player who has the ability to play the point is more than a luxury.
It's straight up beautiful.
Now, hear me out on this one.
Turner shares quite a few similarities with LeBron James.
I know that sounds unbelievably ridiculous, but it's not when you look at their playing styles.
James can play point guard and is one of the best rebounding small forwards in the game. Turner is averaging 6.7 rebounds per game, less than two away from LeBron. Not to mention, Turner's 4.3 assist numbers aren't that close to James' 6.9, but they are still relatively high for a wing.
Again, I'm not saying that he will turn into or is looking like LeBron, I'm just saying that they have similar playing styles.
No matter what position he's playing at, Turner generally finds a way to make something positive happen.
Becoming a star takes a combination of three main things: Preparation, production and a little bit of luck.
Preparing to be great takes place away from the bright lights and screaming fans. Having a strong work ethic to get to the point of being tired or feeling comfortable about how much work you've put in isn't enough. There needs to be an extra gear somewhere that pushes a player through to really get better.
Working hard is step one, but what does it mean if you don't produce when given the opportunity? There are some players who seem to hide from greatness once it's game time and others that embrace the pressure and thrive. It is really all about being a member of the latter if you want to show that you belong as a star in this league.
Are Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner Philadelphia's next star duo
The final step is having some luck. There are those players who have done everything necessary to get to the very top, but run into a problem along the way that prevents them from reaching their potential.
Examples of these kinds of problems are things like relationship troubles, addiction issues or a bad injury. Some of those can be avoided by using your brain and thinking about the situation, but luck always finds a way to creep on through.
Holiday and Turner are lucky to be where they are. Both are now experienced young players who have the opportunity to be the face of Philadelphia for the next 10 years.
They have all of the potential that they could ask for, and it's finally looking like they are making it count.
If they keep up what they've been doing, then it looks like Philly might have its next star duo on its hands.
All statistics in this article are accurate as of games played through Dec. 26.
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