COMMENTARY | On Sunday, November 25, Jrue Holiday recorded a career-high 33 points and added 13 assists to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 104-101 victory over the Phoenix Suns. The win lifted the Sixers to an 8-6 record.
Philly's leading scorer last season, Lou Williams, and face of the franchise Andre Iguodala are both no longer on the team. New centerpiece Andrew Bynum has yet to suit up for the Sixers and is out indefinitely.
Holiday has stepped up in the absence of all those names and is taking control of the team. He is having a career year and is playing like the absolute best player on the Sixers.
Is he an NBA All-Star now?
Holiday is having his best season to date in 2012. He has career-highs in minutes per game (38.2), field goal percentage (45 percent), three-point shooting percentage (41.3 percent), rebounds per game (4.0), assists per game (9.2), and points per game (18.6).
Holiday also has five double-doubles this season. He only had one all of last year.
He has also proven to be the team's go-to-guy this year.
He leads the 76ers in minutes per game, points per game, and assists per game. The next closest to Holiday in scoring is Thaddeus Young, averaging 13.6 points per game. He's also second on the team in shooting percentage.
Holiday has also led the team in scoring in eight of Philadelphia's 14 games.
So we know the 22-year-old is enjoying the best season of his four-year career and he is the leader of a potential playoff team. How does he stack up against the other guards in the East, however?
In name value -- which matters in terms of assembling an All-Star roster -- there are only a couple point guards with bigger resumes than Holiday. With Derrick Rose injured, Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo are the two best point guards in the East.
Holiday could also have to contend with Kyrie Irving and John Wall, two former No. 1 draft picks.
Statistically speaking though, Holiday holds his own.
He is third in the NBA in assists behind only Rondo and Chris Paul (playing in the Western Conference). He's in the top 20 in the NBA in scoring average, ninth in the Eastern Conference. Irving and Milwaukee Bucks' guard Monta Ellis are the only players listed as point guards ahead of him.
He's fifth in the East in minutes per game. Holiday is 29th in the Eastern Conference in field goal percentage, but again he's near the top amongst point guards. Only Rondo, Atlanta's Jeff Teague, and Irving are listed point guards with higher shooting percentages.
Holiday will have to contend with other Eastern guards as well, like perennial All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Joe Johnson. But looking at Johnson's stats, Holiday is performing better in minutes per game, points per game, shooting percentage, rebounds per game, assists per game, steals per game, and even in three-point shooting percentage.
Holiday also compares favorably to the 2011-2012 version of Andre Iguodala, who was on Philadelphia last season and earned his first All-Star appearance.
From December through February, Iguodala averaged only 12.5 points per game, while playing in 35.2 minutes per game and shooting 44 percent from the field.
Holiday's chances will depend on what the head coach of the squad thinks of him and how many guards the team plans to carry, things that will be just too difficult to predict right now.
If Holiday continues to play at this level, however, he makes a really good case for his candidacy.
He's leading the Sixers and in the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference in most offensive statistics. Winning games for Philadelphia only helps the public's recognition and appreciation of him.
It's no guarantee, but right now Holiday is definitely playing like an All-Star.
Phil Shore lives in New Jersey and is the creator and editor of Shore Thing Sports blog. He's been published in The Boston Globe, Philly.com, FoxSoccer.com, LaxMagazine.com and New England Lacrosse Journal.
- Sports & Recreation
- Jrue Holiday
- Andre Iguodala