New York Knicks NBA Draft 2009 Player Preview: Jrue Holiday

Eric HolzmannContributor IJune 5, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - MARCH 21:  Jrue Holiday #21 of the UCLA Bruins shoots against Dante Cunningham #33 of the Villanova Wildcats during the second round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Wachovia Center on March 21, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

(Beginning today, I am going to do a draft preview of each player the Knicks are considering selecting with the eighth overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. I am starting with Jrue Holiday of the UCLA Bruins)

Jrue Holiday is a 6'4", 205-lb. combo guard from UCLA. He was a one-and-done freshman, and his numbers do not look like ones a lottery pick would produce. But consider that he had to play off the ball due to UCLA having senior point guard Darren Collison, and you'll see Holiday played well as a freshman. He's a true point, and scouts believe he'll be an even better NBA player. 

Holiday's greatest strength is his basketball IQ. It's rare an American-born player has this good a feel for the game at 18 years old, but Jrue does. To boot, he is a physically strong player with an excellent first step, which enables him to get to the basket and finish.

He's also got excellent length and instincts on the defensive end, as evidenced by his two steals per game as a freshman. He has the ability to be a lock-down defender at the point guard position; this skill alone is something the Knicks sorely lacked, and it would help them immensely.

The thing I love most about him, though, is his enthusiasm and motor out on the floor.  He loves playing basketball, and he plays the game hard every minute he is on the floor. The Knicks could use a point guard with his kind of abilities.

Of course, Holiday isn't without his shortcomings, the most glaring on being his lack of a consistent perimeter jump shot. Mike D'Antoni's offense requires the point guard to be a good perimeter shooter, so this could be a deterrent to the Knicks taking him. According to reports, he is working on his jump shot and it looks much better, but it still is something that he needs to continue to work on.

Holiday is also not an explosive athlete, but that's not to say he lacks athleticism. He just isn't going to wow you with amazing dunks or elite speed. 

Holiday has been mentioned as going anywhere from fourth overall to the fourteenth. I do not think the Knicks should trade up to get him, but if he falls to them at eight, he would be an excellent selection.


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