Holiday Comes Early for Philadelphia 76ers

Doug DonofrioCorrespondent IJune 27, 2009

WESTWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 19:  Jrue Holiday #21 of the UCLA Bruins lays up a shot in the second half against the Washington Huskies during their NCAA basketball game at Pauley Pavilion on February 19, 2009 in Westwood, California. The Bruins defeated the Huskies 85-76.  (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

Sixers president and general manager Ed Stefanski utilized a characteristic many of us have long forgotten in a world of immediacy and impromptu cravings. That trait has eluded most, but not Thursday in New York City.

Do any of us even remotely remember when we were children and wanted that new bike Billy had, or the newest in-line skateboard Johnny and Ricky had? I do. I remember longing for many things as a youth, and quite frankly, even now.

Those were days you never forgot or wanted to forget. Our parents would tell us it's not for you, or you have to wait when you are all grown up before you can take part in this or that. Thursday night brought me back to those days.

As I was watching the NBA Draft, I honestly did not know what direction the Sixers would take.

Now, in retrospect, I understand what Stefanski did. He patiently waited for Jrue Holiday to slip to him at 17, and then struck like a cobra and nabbed him.

Who is Jrue Holiday, anyway? Why did he drop to the middle of the first round?

The bottom line is: I don't care that he dropped. What is important is that Philadelphia went under the radar and evaded many missiles that went right before them.

Before the draft I would have liked the Sixers to trade down and select two pieces to the puzzle and rather than the obligatory one. They certainly could have moved down, since many of the guys they liked would have been there from 18-25. That was my plan, at least.

Well, what do I know? I am only a team sports theorist, not the Sixers general manager. I looked at film on Holiday and I saw a guy that loves the game of basketball as much as he understands it. His basketball IQ is off the charts, and his competitiveness is not far behind.

Holiday is a big, athletic guard who will play both ends of the floor equally with conviction. He reminds me of a young Dwayne Wade with his size and ability to get to the rim or dish to a teammate off the dribble.

Eddie Jordan must be salivating at the thought of having several guys now who are cerebellar. With Young, Iguodala, Speights, Brand, Smith, Kapono, and now Holiday, the learning curve may not be as steep as we may have originally thought.

They are a young, athletic team with tremendous upside. Although my plan differed from Stefanski's, I understood what his mindset was. He silently outfoxed the rest of the NBA with a trait many of us have shoved aside in this era of immediate gratification.

It was patience at the highest level. Now we must exhibit that same characteristic over the next few years as we watch a young team come together and rise to greater heights.