News » Jrue Holiday impresses scouts beyond his numbers

Jrue Holiday impresses scouts beyond his numbers

Jrue Holiday impresses scouts beyond his numbers
ORLANDO - Although Jrue Holiday's numbers at this Orlando Pro Summer League might appear unimpressive, most NBA scouts remain impressed.

Through four games, Holiday is averaging 8.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.75 assists, 1.75 steals, 3.5 turnovers, and 0.8 blocks a game, hardly overwhelming numbers for the 76ers' first-round draft pick.

Yet there is something about his play, his fundamentally sound outside shot, his solid ball handling, his aggressive, on-balance defense that has many NBA insiders believing the Sixers got lucky when the 19-year-old dropped to the 17th pick.

"If you're Philly and he drops to you, it's a no-brainer," one NBA scout said.

The consensus is that while Holiday is more a "project" than a "step-in-and-play" guy, he has the physical tools to become an NBA starter and could contribute 12-15 minutes a game this coming season.

"He looks like he belongs," said another scout.

"He makes passes you can't teach," said a third. "And in this league, when everyone is worried about their next shot, he would be a fun guy to play with."

Sure, Holiday is committing errors: In one sequence late in yesterday afternoon's 83-62 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Holiday dribbled too much, tried to get to the middle, and then lost the ball in traffic. A few seconds later, he caught the ball on the sideline, his heel already out of bounds.

But there are better moments - a steal at midcourt and an effortless dunk - and what becomes clear is his easy ability to part with the Basketball if it's the right pass, his understanding of angles as he draws away defenders, then, at just the right second, feeding a bounce pass in stride to an open teammate.

In the first quarter, Holiday passed up an open three-pointer from just off the top of the key. Instead, he took one dribble to the left, the defender recovered, and Holiday picked up his dribble, nowhere to go.

An anomaly in these proving-ground leagues, Holiday's was a mistake of letting a scoring opportunity pass rather than forcing a shot that wasn't there.

"Shoot that, Jrue," whispered one scout, more to himself than anyone else.

"He's only 19, he has so much to learn."

The consensus is that Holiday is doing a little too much thinking, not enough reacting. On the last play of the game, Holiday curled along the three-point line, caught a pass, and immediately lifted into his shot. It was his only made three-pointer of the day.

The shot was more reaction than thought.

What might Holiday's future look like this season? Should he play? How much? Might he start?

"He'll play," said one scout. "Starting? That would be asking a lot of the kid."

A Sammy spotting. Sixers center Samuel Dalembert was at the RDX Sportsplex for yesterday's games.

When Dalembert arrived, he said hello to Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard. The pair talked about the elbow Howard threw at Dalembert during the Sixers' first-round playoff series against the Magic. For that elbow, Howard was suspended for Game 6 of the playoffs.

Howard apologized.

"He said, 'Don't elbow me back,' " Dalembert explained. "I know Dwight. . . . I was surprised it happened; it was frustration . . . we're all right."

Dalembert also talked about this summer's various trade rumors as well as his midseason request for a trade.

"I asked for that because I didn't think they were using me to my full potential." Dalembert said. "If [a trade] doesn't happen, I'm not miserable. I said it, and I stick by it. If it's going to be a yo-yo with me again, and we're losing, trust me, God as my witness, if we're winning, I'll be the happiest guy on the planet."

Added Dalembert: "And now it's about 'Sam's offense' . . . We have scorers, we pay guys to score, that's their job. My job is to control the defense. If the guys we got, you know, cannot get that done, as a whole we need to get better offensively."

Dalembert lives in Florida during the off-season and said he had been doing a lot of yoga, working on his flexibility, and doing stabilization exercises for the shoulder he injured at the end of last season. Dalembert said he would begin "really hard" Basketball workouts next week.

Ratliff to Rockets? One rumor had the Houston Rockets signing center Theo Ratliff, who spent last season with the Sixers .

According to an NBA source, the Rockets have spoken to Ratliff's agent but will not sign the veteran backup center.

Contact staff writer Kate Fagan at 856-779-3844 or

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: July 10, 2009


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