Little-known Holiday having monster season

Little-known Holiday having monster season
February 17, 2013, 8:00 am
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As the crowd of media members wiggled through the crowd and elbowed their way closer to Kobe Bryant and LeBron James on Saturday morning, another All-Star sat virtually alone.

Jrue Holiday might just be the least well-known All-Star in the NBA. For now.

Holiday, the Philadelphia 76ers' point guard, is in his fourth season in the league and is a first-time All-Star.

After the Sixers made a little run in the playoffs last year, the excitement level was high for 2012-13, especially when the team traded for center Andrew Bynum. Sure, they had to give up Andre Iguodala and Nikola Vucevic but in return, they got one of the best centers in the game.

But as of the All-Star break, through 51 games, Bynum’s knees still haven’t allowed him to play a minute this season. With Bynum out, Holiday said he needed to raise his level of play.

“Yeah, I feel like I had to,” Holiday said. “Again, Andrew brings something that nobody else can and somebody has to step up and do it in a different way and I’m trying to do that.”

Holiday has averaged 19 points, 8.9 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game, all of which are higher than his career-highs. The only other player in the league to average at least 19 points, eight assists and four rebounds per game this year is Russell Westbrook.

If Holiday keeps that line for the rest of the season, he’ll be the first Sixer since Wilt Chamberlain in 1967-68 to do it.

“I think I’m being a lot more aggressive than I was last year,” Holiday said. “I’m handling the ball more, I’m making the bulk of the decisions on the court so, just having the freedom to mess up and have mistakes.”

Even with Holiday’s new-found level of success, the Sixers aren’t as good of a team as they were last season. Right now, they’re ninth in the Eastern Conference with a 22-29 record.

So Holiday is happy about his personal success, but he said he’d much rather be on a winning team.

“Obviously, I feel like I’m playing well and all that, but honestly, I think I’d rather be on a winning team,” he said. “Obviously I feel like I make my team better but I want to be on a playoff team. I want to make the playoffs and progress from what we did last year.”