06/25/09 10:09 pm EST
The 76ers pulled off a bit of a surprise tonight with the 17th pick. As expected Ed Stefanski drafted a point guard, but his name just wasn’t Ty Lawson or Eric Maynor and that’s where the WOW factor came in.
UCLA’s Jru Holiday kept sliding down the Draft Board and when it was their turn at #17 the Sixers grabbed the kid. Some will label this as a steal as Holiday was projected by many to be a Lottery pick.
We’ll call it a reach, as Holiday will need time to develop and does not help the Sixers compete in the East next year. An Eastern Conference which will now be even tougher then in 2008-09 with the moves Atlanta, Cleveland, Washington and Orlando have made in the last two days. We don’t hate the pick, but we’d like to have seen a point guard taken who can actually shoot and most of all contribute next year — Maynor or Lawson could have done that for the Sixers.
Holiday is a 6-3, 180-pound freshman who played out of position at UCLA last season. Darren Collison was the Bruins’ point guard and Holiday played shooting guard. His future is at the point. He was named to the All-Pac 10 freshman team. He averaged 8.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.5 in 27 mins. a game.
Hoilday was the 2008 Gatorade High School Player of the Year. He played high school ball at Campbell Hall High, in California. Rivals.com rated him as the second best overall player in the 2008 high school class and the #1 point guard. As a senior in high school, Holiday averaged 23.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, 6.4 assists, and 4.2 steals a game in leading his team to the state California Division IV championship and he was selected as a 2008 McDonald’s All-American. During the summer he played for the Double Pump Elite (CA) AAU program which is one of the powerhouse summer scene organizations in the country. Holiday also played in the 2007 USA Basketball Men’s Youth Development Festival.
Many scouts and “experts” have said that if high school players where still allowed to jump from HS to the NBA that Holiday would have done so last year and that he would have been a lottery pick. So it appears that playing out of position and in Howland’s slow down offense really hurt Holiday’s draft stock. Maybe he should have tried ballin’ in Europe instead of college.
Draftexpress.com had this to say about Holiday :
“Jrue Holiday will be the first person to tell you that his freshman season didn’t live up to expectations, not that that fact has scared away GMs looking to draft a point guard. Holiday entered the season as a consensus top five high school player in his class, giving UCLA fans plenty of hope for yet another appearance in the Final Four when the newcomer teamed up with returning All-American point guard Darren Collison. That dream failed to become reality for a variety of reasons, but certainly the underwhelming numbers posted by Holiday received some of the most scrutiny…”
“…A point guard by nature, Holidayspent the majority of his time playing off the ball due to the presence of Collison. This fact, coupled with Ben Howland’s slow-paced offensive system, prevented Holiday from getting very many touches or allowing him the freedom to create. Scouts who have seen tape of the freshman from his days as a prep star in California know that Holiday is a blossoming talent with an intriguing skill set to go along with good size for his position.”