On Thursday June 25,2009 at 7:30pm, The 2009 NBA Draft kicked off at Madison Square Garden in New York city. The consensus #1 pick Blake Griffin went to The LA Clippers, but after that the draft was pretty much as unpredictable as predicted. There were some questionable picks like the Timberwolves run of 3 straight pg's in the 1st round,way to make a splash in your first draft as GM David Kahn.
But then came the bright spot of the NBA draft for myself and other knowledgeable Sixer fans,Jrue Holiday began to slip.His name had been mentioned a few months back by a few of us diehards over at the Sixer forums on RealGm.com(greatest forum for Sixer Hoops hands down)before he became so highly touted ...but I for one did not see it coming as he was being mentioned by alot of teams as a lock for the lottery, as high as 4th and as low as 10th.The Knicks took Jordan Hill,then DeRozan to the Raps at 9,Jennings goes to Milwaukee at 10...OUCH! leaving Holiday as the top ranked PG remaining and still 6 picks to go. I surely thought he'd be snatched up by Inidana or Phoenix leaving us with the choice of the consensus Ty Lawson, Jeff Teague or Eric Maynor....but then Hansbrough goes to Indiana and I suddenly had a bit of hope that a lottery level talent in a weak draft class could possibly fall into our laps at 17.A run of SG/SF's goes and after I heard James Johnson's name called by Chicago at 16, I began to pace back and forth in anxiousness around my tv praying that Ed Stefanski and the Sixers would see the oodles of potential in Jrue Holiday and swing for the home run instead of the single in Lawson or Maynor. 5 minutes later, ITS OUTTA HERE, as David Stern announced that the Philadelphia 76ers selected Jrue Holiday at 17.
Jrue Holiday is a young player and far from complete, but similar to Thaddeus Young who I was very high on pre-draft of 07, he's oozing with star potential. Hes got great NBA size for a point guard at 6'4 205 lbs and a 6'7" wingspan allowing him to be a force on defense as well.Jrue has lock down defender potential and could become one of the top defensive point guards Ala Rajon Rondo in a few years. He was forced to play out of position in his fresh season at UCLA because of senior Darren Collison, but is definitely a point guard. He's got solid vision, good passing ability and ball handling,a good athlete, is a great defender and while his shot was somewhat inconsistent...he has range out to the NBA 3 and good textbook mechanics on it so he should be able to improve his shot greatly with some solid coaching. I believe by mid season he will be a steady contributor just like Thad was in his rookie year,If Royal Ivey found time to get on the court last season, Jrue will definitely crack the rotation even if its just for hustle and Defense...as he is already at 19 head and shoulders above Ivey in terms of skill and talent.
All in all, this was a GREAT pick by Philly and the steal of the draft in my opinion. The value of this kids pro potential at 17 is ridiculous, the basketball gods must have been looking out for Philadelphia last night because 3 years from now when Jrue Holiday is the franchise point guard for the Philadelphia 76ers, people will look back and say we got the steal of the 2009 NBA draft.