This is a superficial analysis of course. But the improvement has been palpable.
The departure of Iguodala and the absence of Bynum have opened the door for Holiday to take a larger role on the team. The biggest improvement has been in the assist category; he has averaged more than double the assists he averaged last year.
What do you guys think? I've been impressed by what this kid has been doing this year.
"Most Improved?" No way. That presupposes that Holiday's been doing the same thing he's always been doing, but is just doing it better now. As though he's made some improvement. These are the facts:
1. The award itself is occasionally thrown away on players who just see increases in minutes due to injuries or trades. It used to be even worse than that, though. It used to be called something like the "comeback player award," but then they kept awarding it to players who were former drug addicts and wife beaters and the league decided that wasn't sending the right message. So the spirit of the award is that you give it to players who have worked hard to improve their games, and that just isn't Jrue Holiday.
2. The reality is that Jrue Holiday is being asked to run an offense for the first time ever in his professional career, and he kind of sucks at it. There's definitely been a learning curve. The Sixers have had an "everybody is a PG" philosophy for the past couple of seasons under Collins, relying on 3-4 different players to initiate the offense on the court. That seems to have gone away with the Iggy trade. Now it's just Holiday running the offense, with occasional play calls by the point forward-ish Evan Turner.
3. And so what has this experiment with Holiday taught the world? It's taught us that:
- Jrue Holiday now leads the NBA in turnovers by a substantial margin.
- This isn't surprising since he's a pretty terrible passer. Ideally you want your best passer to be your point guard, but that's not Holiday. The 76ers best passer is teammate Evan Turner.
- If you watch 76ers games, you'll see Holiday pass the ball right at his screener's shins in the pick N roll. The scorekeeper, perhaps trying to show some mercy on Holiday, will credit the turnover to the man he passed to instead. Holiday's turnovers per game should be even higher.
- You'll also see crazy passes out to the wings that spill popcorn and drinks in the expensive seats. You'll see a lot of things that represent anything but composed point guard play. It's no stretch to say that Jrue Holiday has been complicit in almost all of his team's turnovers. I don't know what your opinion is of point guard play like that, but you damn sure don't give it awards.
- When Holiday is at his best, ironically, it is as an undersized 2 in the offense who is spotting up for three pointers or driving to the basket to exploit a mismatch. That's the role he typically played in the Sixers' offense up until this season anyway.
- Does this mean that Jrue Holiday will never learn the ropes as an NBA starting point guard, and that Iggy forever hampered his development at the position? Of course not. He'll get it eventually. Does he get it now? No. Has he "improved" over the player he was to begin with? Not in the least. Give it a few seasons, and he'll settle down, and the conversation may even shift to whether or not he's a top 5 PG in the league. In the meantime, though, he is hot garbage burning in a barrel under the Texas sun.
Byron Mullens has made leaps and bounds for the Bobcats and is one of the main reasons why they have won as many games as they have right now. He's increased his range so he can now make 3's, he defends the paint and his rebounding numbers have increased dramatically.
Hehe pretty obvious that I didn't think this through! I may have been been overly enthusiastic because he's been producing for me fantasy wise. I do think that Mr. Holiday is going to be a very good player in the league. Hopefully he becomes really good at playing point. A 6'4 PG can do a lot of damage in this league.
OJ Mayo is another good choice. Asik yes. Harden yes.