Jrue Holiday and Turning the Corner (Or Not)
Point Guards and Offense Creation (part one)
But digging beneath the top line numbers were some worrying trends. They remain dead last in 3's attempted. The half-court offense which on paper looked dynamic with Holiday, Gordon and Evans all able to initiate from the perimeter, has been stagnant and ineffective in breaking down defenses. Casually watching several of their games, I began to think a major cause of this malaise was Holiday. Jrue was always likely to suffer some regression this season, at least statistically. Despite his All-Star selection last year, he wasn't an especially effective player. Rather, he was allowed to pile up bulk stats in big minutes on a woeful team that needed somebody to use all those possessions with no other real creators on the roster. And despite this opportunity, he only managed to post a 16.7 PER, barely above league average of 15, despite PER being a stat that explicitly rewards bulk whoredom. Nobody really noticed his barely above-averageness because Philly wasn't just bad; they were depressing what with the Bynum trade blowing up in their faces. So people just looked at his box score nodded appreciatively and moved on as they certainly weren't going to watch or analyze that garbage fire.
However, I at least thought he'd be as effective as Vasquez was last year, and probably moreso given the increased talent on the roster. Sadly, this has yet to be the case, as he has not provided either the playmaking or the scoring expected. Specifically, his seeming inability to beat his man off the dribble and get penetration into the lane is frustrating. Without direct access to the SportVU data, this is difficult to quantify, but let's start here:
In searching for possible explanations, the negatives on Holiday coming into the league included his athleticism, explosiveness and ability to get into the lane and to the line. Further, he often "wast[ed] dribbles on the perimeter, killing the flow of the offense."
Watching the Pels, one can see those scouting notes play out. The lack of aggressiveness off the dribble is apparent both in the half court: