Morning Report: Sixers’ pick loaded with potential

So . . . everybody who had Jrue Holiday atop their draft board raise their hand.

The guard from UCLA, taken by the 76ers with the 17th pick last night, is an interesting choice, partly because everyone in Philadelphia had focused on Eric Maynor of Virginia Commonwealth and Ty Lawson of North Carolina.

But more so because Holiday had such a tepid season in his single year at college, and partly because he has considerable upside at his true position, point guard.

The scouting report on NBAdraft.net said Holiday "had a very disappointing season in terms of the hype he had coming in from high school. [He] played out of position for the majority of the season, and struggled finding his comfort zone."

Holiday was a pure point guard at Campbell Hall in North Hollywood, where he was rated among the very best at that position in last year's recruiting class. But he was moved to shooting guard by UCLA coach Ben Howland because the Bruins had a returning all-American in Darren Collison at point guard.

And that put Holiday in a strange position as he worked out for prospective NBA teams.

Holiday told Draftexpress.com he believed he had to prove "that I'm a floor general, a leader, a captain and that I can run a team.

"Even though I didn't get a chance to last year and I didn't perform the way I wanted to, at the next level my position is point guard. I truly don't think people saw that this year."

Another positive is Holiday's age. The 6-foot-4 teenager turned 19 on June 12 and said he still is growing. On the other hand, drafting such a young player has its risks. But he was projected to be a lottery pick by, among others, ESPN.

Among the observations by NBAdraft.net was this:

"He is unselfish and possesses good court vision and has shown glimpses of being able to run a team full time."

NBA teams will tell you the one thing they can improve by working with a young player is his shot.

If Holiday is unselfish and determined to be a point guard, and is willing to put in the time, he might turn out to be a steal at No. 17.

Player to watch. After your own team's pick, the player to watch is Brandon Jennings, drafted by Milwaukee at No. 10.

A year ago, Jennings shocked most of North America by saying he would bypass college and play pro ball in Europe.

After signing with Arizona while a senior at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, Jennings could not qualify academically.

He signed with Lottomatica Roma of the Italian A League, reportedly for $1.65 million guaranteed.

If he makes it in Milwaukee, the trend of heading to Europe for a year, instead of to college, will accelerate.

Just wondering. If the Phillies had moved to the American League East, as was strongly considered in 1998, where would they finish this season?

 


Contact staff writer Don McKee at 215-854-4611 or

dmckee@phillynews.com.


 

This article contains information from the Associated Press.