Jrue Holiday has played a grand total of 7 minutes, 44 seconds in the past two preseason games. Against the Nets he saw one brief run in the first half, against the Knicks he never got off the bench. Dei Lynam spoke to the rookie for her latest piece, after the jump we'll take a look at how the kid is handling his role.
"They told me there are different opportunities and when my opportunity comes make the best of it. That is what I am waiting for and that is what I am going to do," Holiday said. "I am trying to compete against them because it is making me better. They've been in the league, they know the ropes. I am trying to make myself better as well as them better; you know, show them something new, something different and always play hard."
It has to be tough for the kid. Player of the year in high school, to off guard at UCLA to DNPCD in a preseason game in the NBA. Honestly, I don't know how he's going to react. He's saying all the right things to the press, as you can see above, and his teammates seem impressed with how he's handling it:
Lou Williams added, "These past couple days in practice he's been competing very hard and he hasn't hung his head, so I think that's a positive for him."
It's to be expected, I suppose. As I said coming into training camp, we've been spoiled the past two seasons, first by Thad Young, then Marreese Speights. Typically, on a playoff team, mid first-round picks don't contribute a whole lot in their rookie seasons. Still, I was definitely hoping to see more of Jrue at least in the preseason.
Has his play warranted more minutes? That's tough to quantify. He's played 40 minutes, total. He's shooting 45.5% from the field, 100% from three (3/3, I believe). He has yet to dish out an assist, he's turned the ball over 6 times, grabbed 5 rebounds, scored 18 points all of this to go along with one block and one steal. His line looks a lot like Royal Ivey's. But the numbers really don't mean much at this point. We're at the mercy of Eddie Jordan, and he's taking the stance that he doesn't want to push Jrue into a situation where he thinks the kid will be overwhelmed.
There's nothing we can do about it, obviously, and there's probably very little Jrue can do about it either. He simply has to take his lumps and treat every practice as an opportunity to show the coaches that he can handle whatever they throw at him.
Lynam mentioned, almost in passing, what happened with Thad in his rookie season. He started the year on the end of the bench. Playing garbage minutes, but trying to make an impact in his limited role. In December, Kyle Korver was traded to create some cap space the following summer, and a role opened up for Thad. Obviously, this got me thinking (dreaming) that the same could happen for Jrue this season. Some contender wants a little offense off the bench and/or there's a problem player out there (like Goran Giricek was) and Ed Stefanski sends Wilie Green packing, opening up a role for Jrue.
Until that happens, Jrue is going to have to sit tight and grasp every opportunity like it's his last. For the rest of us, well, we're going to have to wait for garbage time for now, and hope the kid shows us something as well. I think the lack of playing time in the preseason is especially frustrating for me because I do believe he can contribute now, it pains me to have to accept the coach's evaluation that he isn't ready without seeing it for myself. Still, there's nothing to do but wait, for Jrue and for us.