Philadelphia 76ers: Every Day Is a Holiday with Jrue

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Philadelphia 76ers: Every Day Is a Holiday with Jrue

Here is my response to the five "fact or fiction" questions posed in ESPN's "5-on-5" series. 

 

Fact or Fiction?  The Analysts Answering Questions About the Sixers Watched More Than 10 Games

Fiction. 

ESPN is lazy and I highly doubt that 10 is even a fair number if this an over-under line.  I’d even go as far to say that none of them watched more than three Sixers games during the regular season.

 

Fact or Fiction?  Philly Should Trade Andre Iguodala

Fiction.  I side with Ethan Sherwood Strauss on this one.  The leader of a young team, Iguodala got a lot of the blame last year when Doug Collins would go to him during crunch time.

He is just not a go-to scorer.  He’s not a three-point shooter either (31 percent last year) and his free-throw percentage and attempts per game were both career lows (70 percent). 

However, has a great first step and is one strong dude.  He is one of the best among perimeter players at finishing around the basket.

He is also the only small forward in the league not named LeBron James to average over six assists per game.

Despite only playing 67 games in an injury-plagued season, he still managed to average 14 points (45 percent), 6.3 assists, 5.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals a game.

He made the All-NBA Defensive second team but is arguably the best on-ball defender of twos and threes in the league.  Plus, I just don’t see the Sixers getting anything close to fair in return.

 

Fact or Fiction?  Evan Turner Will Live up to His No. 2 Draft Status

Fact.  Evan Turner proved to me in the first round series vs. Miami that he is going to be a good player in the NBA, turning in breakthrough performances in games two and four.

He has taken a while to get used to every level.  He was on the JV squad his sophomore year in high school before going on to barely play his freshman year at Ohio St.

Then after a solid sophomore season, he broke his back in his junior year only to come back in four weeks to win the Naismith Player of the Year Award.

Those who watched the Sixers first round series with Miami had to be impressed by his play.  He showed he could score, rebound, defend and handle the ball.  He even hit his threes.

I expect him to have a breakout year at shooting guard, sliding Jodie Meeks into a reserve role.

 

Fact or Fiction?  Thaddeus Young Should Start

Fiction.  Thad Young had a stellar season off the bench for the Sixers, averaging 12.7 points (54 percent), 5.3 rebounds, an assist and a steal per game in only 26 minutes of work.

He should have been seriously considered for sixth man of the year but hey, there’s always this year.  And that’s exactly what I’m predicting.

Young didn’t play his best in the playoffs, but he is a huge matchup problem for essentially every four in the league. 

He provides instant offense, something good teams need to have coming off the bench.

Furthermore, if they gave a comeback player of the year award in the NBA, it would have gone to Elton Brand.  Brand hasn’t been a brand name since the 2006-07 season.

In 2007-08 he played only six games toward the end of the season due to a ruptured Achilles tendon.

In 2008-09 he only played 29 games before awkwardly landing on his shoulder and dislocating it. Then there was Eddie Jordan in 2009-10.

That team was just an absolute mess, running a Princeton offense ill-suited for a Sixers team that was lacking outside shooters.

But after two years of waiting, Philadelphia finally got to see Brand in action as he started and played in 81 games.

He recorded 15.3 points (51 percent), 8.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.3 blocks, 1.1 steals and a career-best 1.2 turnovers in 35 minutes per.

He played well in the post-season as well, averaging 15.6 points (55 percent), 8.4 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 1.2 blocks, 0.4 steals and 0.8 turnovers in 37 minutes per.

Yeah, he’s 32 but he has always been more of a skilled player than a freak athlete.

I expect him to build off of last season and be even better this season, especially with a nice pick and pop partner who is steadily improving.

 

Fact or fiction?  Jrue Holiday will be a star

Fiction, he'll be a superstar.  Holiday is the most slept on player in the entire league.  Let’s take a second to analyze how this is so.

First, as a freshman at UCLA, he was forced to play out of position as Darren Collison was unfit to play the role of shooting guard.

So he dropped all the way to the Sixers at No. 17 in the 2009 NBA draft.  In his rookie season he was the youngest player in the league.

Holiday struggled in a limited role in the beginning of the year, but he got better and better as the year went on. 

Last year, in his first season under Doug Collins, the 20-year-old started all 82 games averaging 14 points (45 percent), 6.5 assists, 4 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 0.5 blocks and 2.7 turnovers per game in 35 minutes per.

By comparison, John Wall averaged 3.8 turnovers a game last year and is less than 3 months younger than Holiday.

Holiday led the Sixers to a 41-41 record after a 3-13 start that left little doubt that the Sixers wouldn’t be a playoff a team.

As far as the playoffs go, Holiday had one of the best debut playoff series among all 20-year-olds in NBA history.

He only shot 41.4 percent from the field overall, but he shot a blistering 52 percent from downtown during the series. 

It was the best three point percentage by a 20-year-old in playoff history.

Holiday averaged 14.2 points, 5.6 assists, 3.8 rebounds, 2 steals, 0.4 blocks and 2 turnovers in 37 minutes per game.

What else? He is 6'4," super athletic, has great footwork and has the desire and skills to be an All-NBA defender in this league.

He has great handles, a sweet shot and an above average post-game for someone his age.  He is also a great finisher with a phenomenal left hand. 

He played very well against the elite point guards this year and he is a very humble kid that no doubt will be making great strides in each of the next several seasons.

 

Fact or fiction?  The Sixers have a bright future ahead

Fact.  Show your love people and stop sleeping. 

If everyone is back then the Sixers will be a deep team that plays a fast-paced, tough defense, team brand of basketball.  They're one Brazilian center (Nene) away from contention.

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