Jrue Holiday has a bright NBA future. His brother, Justin, is trying to prove he belongs as well. Friday in Washington D.C., Justin Holiday played 20 minutes. He scored seven points, grabbed three rebounds and handed out three assists, but it was his defense that impressed Doug Collins when the 11-point win was in the books.
“I want to give Justin a look,” Collins said. “We think he has a chance to be a really good defensive player. We played him some at the point guard position defensively tonight and we played him some at the two. He reminds me a little bit of Michael Cooper out there with his speed and his quickness. I really wanted to give him a chance. With him, Damien [Wilkins], Dorell [Wright] and Jrue I thought we had a good perimeter.”
“I think that is the main thing that he respects about my game is my defense,” Justin Holiday said of Collins. “I played defense well [against Washington], finally, for once. That is what he wants me to do and that is what I am here for.”
Justin has played a total of six NBA games. His minutes and points against the Wizards were career-highs. But the 24-year-old knows in order for him to extend his NBA career into next season his defensive prowess is key.
“The guy I like to guard on the perimeter is the guy who can shoot the ball very well without dribbling,” Holiday shared. “A guy who can dribble and shoot is very tough to guard. A guy who is just shooting the jump shot, that is the easiest for me to guard, [and] at the same time I actually like guarding the best.”
In addition to rising to the challenge of slowing down great talents, Justin is enjoying playing alongside his younger brother. He and Jrue were high school teammates, but that was a number of years ago.
“I especially enjoyed playing with him [in Washington], being able to switch and guard different dudes,” Justin said. ”He even found me on a break and that’s the stuff we used to do in high school, so it was fun being able to be out there playing with him."
“He is long and active; I think he can guard one through four,” Jrue Holiday said of Justin. “Obviously by his build you guys wouldn’t think he was strong enough, but he can handle himself down there.”
Jrue Holiday has shown signs of severe fatigue lately, shooting poorly and turning the ball over quite a bit. Friday night the younger Holiday resembled more the player that earned an all-star nod in mid-February.
“I felt relaxed,” Jrue Holiday said. “My jumper felt nice and solid. I am just trying to be patient.”
“That game where he air-balled a free throw, I have never seen that in my life,” Justin said of Jrue. “Something like that I think shows that he is a little fatigued but I knew eventually he would bounce back. There is nothing you can do except just keep playing, attacking like he has been and it paid off today.”
Jrue's coach agreed.
“I thought he was much more assertive,” Collins said of his starting point guard, who led the Sixers with 22 points and also had seven assists. “I don’t know if it has been a combination of mental and physical fatigue where he has been a little indecisive, but tonight he took real good care of the ball.”