76ers

Sixers player evaluation: Jrue Holiday

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Sixers player evaluation: Jrue Holiday

Note: Over the next couple of weeks we will recap the Sixers’ season by evaluating each member of the roster.

Jrue Holiday

Position: Point guard

Status: Headed into the first year of a four-year, $41 million contract extension

Signature game of 2012-13
Holiday scored on a layup with 1.1 seconds left in the Jan. 18 game against the Toronto Raptors at the Wells Fargo Center to force overtime and lead the Sixers back from a 19-point deficit. In overtime, Holiday scored all 12 of the Sixers’ points in a 108-101 victory to cap off a 33-point, 14-assist effort.

From Jan. 18:
There hasn’t been much Jrue Holiday hasn’t shown during his breakout, All-Star caliber season. In fact, there aren’t too many folks around the NBA who aren’t aware of the Sixers’ point guard’s talent.

“Everybody knows how good Jrue Holiday is,” Sixers head coach Doug Collins said.

In Friday night’s 108-101 comeback victory over the Toronto Raptors in overtime at the Wells Fargo Center, Holiday put his entire game on display and made his best case for an All-Star bid.

Holiday tied a career-high with 33 points on 13-for-23 shooting to go with 14 assists to lead the Sixers back from a 19-point second-half deficit. Better yet, it was Holiday’s layup with 1.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter to force overtime and give the Sixers their first share of the lead all game.

However, he saved the real fireworks for overtime.

In the extra frame, Holiday scored all 12 of the Sixers’ points, converting on a three-pointer and three foul shots as they rolled to just their second win of the season when trailing after three quarters.

Holiday in 2012-13
It was the quintessential breakout year that many predicted for Holiday. On opening night, Holiday signed a four-year contract extension, he earned his first All-Star berth and at age 22, became an undisputed leader of the Sixers.

There’s more: Holiday was fourth in the NBA in assists with eight per game and 10th in minutes per game with nearly 38.

There were also some learning experiences for Holiday, too. He was second in the league with 3.7 turnovers per game, and by the end of the season, Holiday admitted he was fatigued. Chalk it up to all those minutes, the demanding position of point guard and the added responsibility taken on as the team captain.

Prospectus
After four years in the NBA, Holiday is only 22. He has improved every season he’s been in the league and the Sixers are expecting even more improvement from their All-Star. Not only was Holiday signed to a four-year extension that begins in 2013-14, but also Holiday will be the player the team builds around headed into the future.

“I think if you talk to Jrue, he’ll tell you he needs to work on his stamina and the mental toughness of going through the entire season,” coach Doug Collins said last week. “He told me the other day that after the All-Star break he hasn’t played as well. Playing all 82 and the demands of that position, the sky is still the limit for him.”

On Jrue Holiday
“I like him because he’s a big guard and he plays at his own tempo. A lot of guards get going too fast and they speed up, but Jrue plays at his own speed. He can get into the paint and he has that nice little shot over the smaller guards.”

-- Dorell Wright, Oct. 20, 2012

“When he’s not in the game you can feel it because the ball doesn’t move around as much. He’s our distributor and he’s the one who makes the plays. Sometimes the offense becomes stagnant without Jrue in the game.”

-- Thad Young, Nov. 25, 2012

Sixers-Pistons observations: A Simmons triple-double and Embiid stars in 1st win

Sixers-Pistons observations: A Simmons triple-double and Embiid stars in 1st win

BOX SCORE

DETROIT — In a much-anticipated matchup Monday night featuring two elite centers, it was the Sixers’ big man Joel Embiid who stood above the rest.

Back in the starting lineup after sitting out Saturday’s blowout loss in Toronto, Embiid out-shined Detroit’s franchise player Andre Drummond to lead the Sixers to their first regular-season win — a much-needed 97-86 victory over the Pistons at Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit.

Embiid wasn’t alone with a stellar performance. Rookie Ben Simmons notched a triple-double to become just the third player to accomplish the feat within his first four games (Oscar Robertson in 1960 and Art “Hambone” Williams in 1967).

It was a much-needed win for the Sixers, who entered Monday winless and one game removed from a 34-point blowout loss in Toronto. 

Embiid showcased his polished shooting stroke, highlighted by a three-pointer to close out the first quarter, and put his athleticism on full display en route to a team-high 30-point performance. 

The 23-year-old center logged 28 minutes after playing 27 minutes on Friday. He took advantage of every minute, making 11 of 15 shots, grabbing nine boards and hitting 7 of 8 free throws. A second-quarter dramatic slam dunk over Drummond, who was held 14 points, capped Embiid’s impressive night. 

The Sixers took a 56-43 lead into the half, but nearly squandered a 21-point lead after the Pistons cut their lead to 81-78 with less than eight minutes to play before pulling away late.

• After falling just shy of a triple-double on Saturday, Simmons pulled it off Monday in the final minutes to become the third player in NBA history to record a triple-double within the first four career games. Simmons finished with 21 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists to extend his career-starting double-double streak to a fourth straight game. In doing so, he became the first player since Shaquille O’Neal to record a double-double in each of his first four career games. O'Neal's stretch lasted 11 straight games.

• Markelle Fultz was held two just two points and failed to leave a strong offensive impression for the fourth straight game. Fultz consistently managed to get into position for open looks, but appeared hesitant to pull the trigger. When he did, he struggled to make shots outside the paint, including a wide open 15-footer in the first quarter. Fultz, who is battling a sore right shoulder, was limited to 16 minutes of action — the fewest minutes he’s logged this season.

• During Monday’s morning shootaround, head coach Brett Brown stressed the need for his team to cut down on turnovers and commit fewer fouls. The Sixers struggled with turnovers, committing 21 after averaging 17 the first three games, but managed to overcome early mistakes and limit the bleeding.

• Pistons fans didn’t take kindly to their home team’s sluggish first-half performance, showering Detroit with boos after Jerryd Bayless hit a three-pointer to put the Sixers up 51-30 in the second quarter. The Pistons announced a near-sellout crowd in what was the team’s second regular-season game at their new home, Little Caesars Arena. However, dozens of empty rows and a sea of red seats were spotted throughout the game. 

• Embiid quickly made his presence felt with six points (2 of 3 shooting) in the first five minutes before being subbed by former Piston Amir Johnson. Johnson, who finished with three points, has played on four teams throughout his 13-year career, and faced all three of his former teams (Pistons, Celtics and Raptors) in the last seven days. 

Brown says 'nobody has any fears' over long-term impact on Fultz's shot

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Brown says 'nobody has any fears' over long-term impact on Fultz's shot

DETROIT — If you’re under the impression Markelle Fultz’s shooting game has been affected by his sore right shoulder, you’re not alone.

Sixers coach Brett Brown thinks so, too.

“There’s no doubt that it factors into what people question right now about his shot. There’s no doubt,” Brown said prior to the Sixers’ matchup Monday night in Detroit. “You don’t just walk a certain way for a long period of your life, and then all of the sudden, start to limp.”

Brown’s comments come on the heels of another worrisome shooting performance from Fultz, who made just 1 of 5 shots en route to six points in Saturday’s 128-94 blowout loss in Toronto.

It marked the second straight game Fultz logged only six points after he made just 2 of 9 shots in the Sixers’ home-opening loss to the Boston Celtics.

“(Fultz) doesn’t let on much. He doesn’t want to let on much,” Brown said. “But nobody’s hiding anything. It’s just, none of us can dismiss that it doesn’t factor into some of the shooting concerns that he might have. 

“What I do know is that the work he puts in, the work on his shoulder, all that stuff, nobody is dramatizing it. It’s consistent and I think it’s heading into the path that we want.”

Brown acknowledged that Fultz’s shoulder woes remain a cause for concern. That said, it appears Brown has no intention of sitting the 19-year-old sharpshooter, who has yet to attempt a three-pointer in his first three regular-season games, despite shooting 41.3 percent from behind the arc in his lone season season at the University of Washington.

“I’m trying to grow him and find minutes for him, and become a part of what we’re doing,” Brown said. “He’s obviously a huge part of our future. That kind of stuff is what’s mostly on my mind.”

Asked whether he had concerns about whether continuing to play Fultz could affect his shot down the road, Brown was quick to dismiss the notion, citing the opinion of the team’s medical staff. 

“I’m advised mostly by the medical people — that’s what I get worried about the most. And nobody has any fears,” Brown said. “Like we’ve said to Markelle, this is not going to define him. This first season is not going to define him. 

“He’s so compliant. When you really dig in deeper, and not get tricked by just statistics, he’s been good. He really has been good.”