The word elite is one we’re far too comfortable throwing around in the sports world. As soon as someone strings together a few good games, regardless of what they’ve done before, or what they’re going to do moving forward, we as sports fans LOVE to classify them as “elite.”
Two of the following three players are referred to as elite NBA point guards:
Player A: 19.4 points, 8.9 assists, Player Efficiency Rating of 19.37
Player B: 13.7 points, 11.1 assists, Player Efficiency Rating of 18.38
Player C: 17.1 points, 7.8 assists, Player Efficiency Rating of 18.73
Of those three players, which one do you think has never been mentioned as elite? Obviously, I’m referring to Player A, who happens to be Philadelphia 76ers point guard Jrue Holiday, who is absolutely having a breakout season as enters the elite class of the NBA’s finest position.
Sure, it’s unfair to categorize him in the same class as Rajon Rondo and Deron Williams, who are players B and C listed above and have been terrorizing the league for a handful of seasons now, but Holiday seems to be the complete package for the Sixers, and has a team who has suffered from injuries all season still in the playoff hunt.
Granted, the Sixers are only in the playoff hunt because they play in the Eastern Conference, but this team was built for the high-low tandem of Holiday and the yet to play a game in a Sixers jersey Andrew Bynum, and they should thrive when they get their 7-footer back soon. But the majority of their success has to be tied to their All-Star (for the first time) point guard, who is averaging career-highs in points, assists, rebounds, and field goal percentage.
Speaking of career-highs, Holiday is coming off of one of the best games not only of the season, but in his four seasons in the league, as he torched the New York Knicks for a career-best 35 points in their thrashing of the Atlantic Division’s leaders this past Saturday night. Holiday took advantage of his matchup with the rusty Ray Felton, and was unstoppable in getting to the rack, as well as hitting his silky smooth J from all parts of the court. At 6-foot-4, he’s been able to not only get to the rim and finish, but he’s able to shoot over most point guards, and creates mismatches on a nightly basis.
Every team in the league is looking for a point guard who doesn’t just run an efficient offense, but who can score the ball, and Holiday does both very well. So, is he elite?
I’ll let you guys decide.
For hoops, hip-hop and other random sports and pop culture commentary, follow Jared Mintz on Twitter @JaredMintzTruth