We've finally reached the fun portion of the Early Predictions
series. Today, the guy who I believe will wind up being the best player on this team (eventually), and one of the best point guards in the league, Jrue Holiday.
First of all, people who are saying there's a chance Jrue won't be the starting point guard on opening night are out of their minds. Half-way through the season last year, Jrue took the job and it's his, without a doubt. Here are my predictions for Jrue's production :
- Minutes: 2,800
- Points/game: 14.8
- Rebs/game: 3.6
- Ast/game: 7.5
- Steals/game: 1.55
- Blocks/game: 0.35
- TOV/game: 3.0
- FG%: 47%
- 3P%: 39.5%
I've got him at 34 minutes per game, playing all 82, which probably isn't realistic, but there you have it. Given a sensible defensive system and a coach who stresses defense, I think Jrue will demand the heavy minutes with his play (and the thin alternatives to play the point when he's on the pine). He's going to apply intense pressure on the ball and contribute across the board on both ends of the floor.
An offense that isn't predicated on ridiculous dribble-handoffs leading to 22-foot jumpers by Willie Green is also sure to lead to better production by Jrue. Jrue is a pure point guard and a natural at running the break and the pick-and-roll. If his jumper remains as consistent as it was last season, he's extremely close to being the complete package, and he's only 20.
Three areas that need work are taking care of the ball (I expect him to make strides here, but his TOs will still be high), consistency on the defensive end (he was better early than late last season, though playing for Eddie Jordan would wear on anyone) and getting to the foul line. Over the past 31 games, Jrue shot 49% from the floor, 42% from three and did just about everything for the team. Just about because he only averaged 1.62 free throws per 36 minutes. He can use his dribble to get into the lane, he can use his size to post up most PGs, he needs to initiate contact to get to the line and finish.
Your thoughts in the comments, as usual.