Jrue Holiday outshines Ty Lawson in early extension returns

12/11/12 in NBA   |   BrianMaddock   |   1429 respect

When the Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets met on opening night shortly after signing extensions with their point guards Jrue Holiday and Ty Lawson, it was inevitable that a comparison will be struck throughout the season given the 2009 class players’ adjacent spots on drafts night.
At the time, Denver Nuggets’ $48 million offer to Ty Lawson seemed to set the bar for Philadelphia 76ers’ following $41 million contract extension for Jrue Holiday. Ty Lawson seemed to have earned it after dropping to 18th in the 2009 drafts (just one spot behind Jrue Holiday), and still out-performing his contract by developing into a more productive floor general for the Denver Nuggets over the past three years.
But from what has followed through the season, Jrue Holiday has outshined Ty Lawson and proven more productive for his team.
So far, Jrue Holiday’s potentially career best stats this season – 18.9 point (on 45 percent shooting, with 36 percent from 3-point range), 8.9 assists and 3.9 rebounds – seem to do justice to the progress he has made this year. The 22-year-old Jrue Holiday posted one of the finer games of this season during Philadelphia 76ers’ 104-97 win with 25 points, 8 assist and 2 steals on 11-of-20 shooting against the Detroit Pistons on Monday. In the bigger picture, over the years, Jrue Holiday’s performance has transformed from the pleasantly surprising contribution to a vital production for the Philadelphia 76ers.
And still a more shining feature of Jrue Holiday’s improved performance is his increased efficiency (he had a career-best 18.1 player efficiency rating through Monday), despite the rise in usage rate from 21.8 last season to 25.6 more recently. While emerging as the lead scorer on an offense lacking serious depth, Jrue Holiday has focused on creating plays that minimize slip-ups by the offense as the Philadelphia 76ers rank No.2 in the league in turnover rate. Jure Holiday’s touch at scoring has led him to adjust as the team’s bets last possession option. The former 1st Round pick Jrue Holiday’s 32 percent attempts have come under 10 seconds remaining in the game, and that too on a 53 percent efficient field goal percentage (that includes 3-pointers).
On the other hand, Ty Lawson is still figuring out a balance among, speed, efficiency and control, which may set him up for a breakout campaign this season, but hardly ranks above Jrue Holiday’s value to his team. Although Ty Lawson is raking up on the assists (7.0 per game) this season, his other stats – 14.1 points, 2.6 rebounds including 45 percent efficient field goal percentage – have dropped in comparison to past seasons.
It can hardly be argued whether Denver Nuggets overall slide in offensive efficiency (dropping from 106.5 to 103.9 through early season) or the team’s hectic schedule (16 road games out of 22 regular season games) may have contributed to Ty Lawson’s lack of impact this season.
And while a batch of home games (15 of 18 games) beginning January could dull out the Denver Nuggets’ disappointing start, a stronger and rejuvenated Ty Lawson will be essential to their campaign to land home court playoffs advantage in an increasingly tougher Western Conference.
Whether Jrue Holiday and Ty Lawson fall to early season expectations, it is apparent that the two players are major contributors and franchise centerpieces on the short-run, who can be related to their teams’ early season fortunes.
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