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Stephen Curry versus Jrue Holiday…. Reviewed by Momizat on .   In ESPN.com’s most recent installment of NBA 5-on-5, five panelists were asked to determine which player under the age of 25 was better between Stephen C   In ESPN.com’s most recent installment of NBA 5-on-5, five panelists were asked to determine which player under the age of 25 was better between Stephen C Rating:
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Stephen Curry versus Jrue Holiday….

 

In ESPN.com’s most recent installment of NBA 5-on-5, five panelists were asked to determine which player under the age of 25 was better between Stephen Curry and Jrue Holiday.

Four of the five members of the panel picked Curry, while Michael Wallace selected Jrue Holiday. His answer:

Jrue Holiday. Curry’s durability is a major concern. That said, his upside offensively makes him well worth the risk. But Jrue has shown this season he’s capable of getting a triple-double any given night. He’s required to do more for Philly, but he’s answered the challenge. Nothing about his game is flashy. He just seems to do a little of everything well on both ends.

It’s quite difficult to argue with Wallace’s answer, considering that Holiday has in fact been a stud point guard this season and in addition he’s playing the best basketball of his young NBA career.

With Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams gone, the UCLA product has been asked to assume more ball handling responsibilities this year and also display more playmaking skills for a team that is incredibly reliant on their jump shooting ability. To his credit, Jrue has answered the bell and steered the 76ers to an impressive record despite Andrew Bynum’s absence from the lineup so far for the entire season.

Not only has Holiday produced on offense, he’s also made big plays late in ball games to lead Philadelphia to victories. In truth, he may be the best point guard in the league that no one talks about. Indeed, Jrue Holiday has a superior PER figure (19.3) than Rajon Rondo (18.3), Greivis Vasquez (16.7), Damian Lillard (16.5), Mike Conley (16.5), Ray Felton (15.3) and Ty Lawson (14.6) to name a few.

The 76ers guard’s achieves such great statistical achievements thanks in large part to his ability to breakdown defenders off the dribble to create scoring opportunities for both himself and his teammates. Thus, he is scoring 19.2 points and dishing out 8.9 assists on average so far this season.

But there’s something about Holiday that just seems off when watching the Philadelphia 76ers.

Normally, one would think that when watching a stud player, he would leave you with the impression that his team is at least partly lost without him. Maybe they can stay afloat for a few but ultimately his absence from the court for any prolonged stretch is quite fatal.

And when watching the Sixers, rarely does that feeling come about, at least from my end. It’s not that he’s invisible, but rather that his game-changing plays almost look as if they happened by accident as opposed to being predetermined.

Watch him long enough, and the talent is obviously there, but it doesn’t always manifest itself. Thus, my eye test tells me that Philadelphia is fine with him on the court but won’t self-destruct either when he rides the pine. And in actuality, the numbers back up what my eyes see.

According to NBA.com’s advanced stats tool, when Jrue is on the floor, the 76ers score 93 points per 48 minutes on 44.3 percent shooting, whereas when he is on the bench, Philly scores 90.3 points per 48 minutes on 44 percent field goal shooting.

Philadelphia is obviously better with him on the court, but their gap in performance isn’t that great. But to be fair to the former Bruin, the lack of great finishers and shooters on the team obviously hurts his production, and that may be part of the reason that he is so restricted in the half-court and thus sees his impact limited throughout games.

Stephen Curry on the other hand has just been amazing this season.

Early on in the 2012-13 campaign, he struggled with the added scoring responsibility coupled with the extra defensive attention, which in turn led to him forcing shots and having several clunkers. He eventually figured things out and although he is only hitting 43.7 percent of his shots, his field goal percentage has improved with each passing month. Have a look at the graphic below:

Month

Games

FG%

3PT FG%

October

1

.143

.000

November

14

.430

.425

December

16

.442

.482

January

7

.475

.537

Total

38

.437

.464

As the season has gone on, Curry has become a better shooter and consequently a better scorer. In addition, he is still a wizard with the ball in his hands, baiting defenders to jump into him or to commit early defensively so that he can dish off to teammates.

When looking at the Davidson product’s play, his presence is always felt. The added attention coupled with the way defenses swarm to him allows his teammates to get a multitude of open looks. Thus, the offense looks crisper and fluid with him on the court, whereas when he heads to the bench, things look a little congested occasionally. And keep mind, the man backing up Curry is none other than Sixth Man of the Year candidate Jarrett Jack, who has been phenomenal off the bench for the Warriors this season.

And yet, when watching Golden State play, it always feels like they need their starting point guard to be on the floor to thrive. NBA.com’s advanced stats tool tells us that the Dubs score 102.3 points per 48 minutes on 46.5 percent field goal shooting when he is on the court and are a decent plus-three in scoring differential; but when he is off the court, the numbers plummet to 91.6 points per 48 minutes on 43.6 percent field goal shooting and a minus-4.1 scoring differential.

In other words, the Warriors are much better with him in the lineup given how his talent meshes almost seamlessly with that of his teammates.

It’s also worth noting that Curry has shut the door against opponents with some terrific fourth quarter performances, with his most recent one coming last night against the Los Angeles Clippers. His 3-point shooting as well as his free throw shooting make him a scary proposition for teams to deal with, which explains why Mark Jackson loves to play him off the ball late in games where he gets an opportunity to catch and shoot.

The one knock on Curry so far this season has to be his unflappable willingness to go for the jugular by firing away from 3-point range late in games regardless of the quality of his look or the time left on the shot clock. It’s hurt the Dubs at times but it’s also bailed them out as well. Curry has a bit of Kobe in him, but the Warriors and their fans have no complaints about it for the time being.

All in all, the best young player under age 25 is Steph Curry when matched up head-to-head with Jrue Holliday in my humble opinion, but Michael Wallace is absolutely right in stating that the Warriors point guard’s durability concern him going forward. Curry has been relatively healthy so far this season and if he continues to exhibit this same level of consistency in terms of his health, he might just end up in the top tier of elite NBA point guards.

Statistical support provided by NBA.com.

Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at JM.Poulard@Warriorsworld.net.

About The Author

JM.Poulard

J.M. Poulard is the Warriors World editor. He is also a contributor to ESPN TrueHoop sites Forum Blue and Gold (Los Angeles Lakers), Piston Powered (Detroit Pistons) and Raptors Republic (Toronto Raptors). He has a particular fondness for watching Eastern Conference ball games and enjoys the history of the sport. Feel free to reach out to him on Twitter (@ShyneIV).

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