ORLANDO FL - DECEMBER 18: Jrue Holiday #11 of the Philadelphia 76ers brings the ball up the court during the game against the Orlando Magic at Amway Arena on December 18 2010 in Orlando Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and or using this Photograph user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
The future of the 76ers lie in the hands of both Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner. Their play will dictate whether the Sixers are contendors or pretenders.
I'm not sure if you have been watching the last two weeks of 76ers basketball, but some exciting things have been happening. Maybe you were watching the 40 year old Backstreet Boys collaborate with the 70 year old New Kids on the Block, while they sang songs targeted at 14 year old girls on New Years Eve.
Viable excuse I suppose.
But while you were watching nine grown men perform leg kicks, Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner were turning corners. I think everyone agrees that the future of this team falls in each of these players' hands. This road trip showed that the Sixers future may be closer than most people think.
During the Sixers recent road trip Jrue Holiday's stats have exploded. In his last five games he is averaging 20.2 ppg and 7.2 apg. So far this season, Holiday is averaging 14.3 ppg, 6.5 apg, and 1.3 spg. That's impressive for a 20 year old point guard flying under the NBA radar. Jordan Sams, of Liberty Ballers, wrote an interesting piece comparing Holiday to other NBA superstars at age 20. According to the numbers, Holiday is right on pace with some of the most successful point guards in the NBA.
At 20 years old Holiday is showing an incredible amount of leadership. Over the course of the season, I have heard numerous complaints from fans criticizing the Sixers lack of a go to guy at the end of the game. Well again, if you were watching Ryan Seacrest interview an inebriated and horribly awkward Ke$ha, you may have missed Jrue Holiday and Kobe Bryant trading baskets during the Sixers/Lakers game. Holiday is starting to show the confidence of a guy that wants the ball in his hand at the end of the game.
He may have to hash out that last shot with Evan Turner, who also is displaying the confidence Sixers fans have been waiting for. If you are just a stat checker you may disagree with me. If you look at the paper every morning, see a 2-14 shooting night, then throw your negative opinion around, you are missing the big picture.
Turner is finally getting those important development minutes he needs. He is finally starting to want the ball in his hands. Don't be discouraged by the missed baskets Sixers fans...as they say, you have to crawl before you can walk.
Turner is the kind of player every team wants. He is a selfless player, whose main objective is winning basketball games. In a league consumed by stats, it is a breath of fresh air. Turner, who came to the Sixers unsure of his role, is starting to figure it out. When he first arrived, he was passive. This drove fans crazy, especially when John Wall was putting up impressive numbers in Washington. But Wall is the cornerstone of the offense. The Wizards have no one else.
Turner came to a team which already had a play-maker in Andre Iguodala. Since A.I.'s injury, Turner stepped into his new role with a new attitude. This confident attitude will be important to the future success of the Philadelphia 76ers. Again, it is too early to determine his potential based on half a season, but look for more productivity as his minutes increase.
As the new year begins the Sixers will rely heavily on the play of both Holiday and Turner. They will determine if this team has the makings of a contendor, or if they need to return to the "crapshoot" that is the NBA Draft.