“Jrue was always the opposite of that,” Smith remembered. “Anything we asked him to do for rookie duty, he would do it with no hesitation. One time we told him he had to wear a Dora the Explorer backpack. He was like, ‘Alright, let’s do it.’ ”
The 2009-10 Philadelphia 76ers instituted a rule that practice couldn’t end until one of the team’s rookies made a left-handed layup. Seemingly ambidextrous on a basketball court, the task came so easily for Jrue Holiday that 76ers coaches quickly changed the requirement, forcing Holiday to instead sink a left-handed free throw. That, too, was mastered rapidly by the natural righty. Eventually Philadelphia’s practices concluded once Holiday drained a left-handed NBA three-pointer, but it didn’t take long for the 19-year-old to start swishing those with regularity as well.
“Jrue always had that attitude of ‘Give me a challenge. I’ll conquer it,’ ” remembered New Orleans Pelicans center/forward Jason Smith, a teammate of Holiday’s on those ’09-10 Sixers. “It was that type of mentality that allowed Jrue to gain the respect of the players and the coaching staff.”
... Smith has long been a major supporter of Holiday. In fact, prior to New Orleans’ 2010-11 season, Smith listed Holiday as the NBA’s most underrated player in a team questionnaire. Smith’s description of Holiday back then: “He’s so explosive athletically. He takes his time and is great with either hand. He has lots and lots of potential. If he continues to work hard, he’s going to be an amazing player in the future of the NBA.”
In I-told-you-so fashion, the 7-footer now crows about his prediction from three years ago.
“I said to you that he’d be an All-Star one of these years,” Smith good-naturedly reminded. “Last year he was an All-Star. He’s shown that if you work hard at something, anything is attainable.”
... “Having the type of success he had, people just loved him,” Smith said. “With Philly he was giving back to the community constantly. He was happy to do any and every appearance they asked of him. He’s such a personable guy on the court, as well as off the court. That’s why I was very surprised to see Philadelphia let him go, but I’m very, very happy to see him come to New Orleans. It’s going to be exciting to see him as a Pelican next year.”
Smith also views Holiday as a player who will quickly embrace the approach of fourth-year head coach Monty Williams. During stops in Portland and New Orleans, Williams has been instrumental in the development of numerous young players. With Holiday, the Pelicans have a player who has repeatedly demonstrated an eagerness to improve.
Smith: “I know the type of player Jrue is and the type of personality he has. He’s such a great person on and off the court. It’s going to be a great match not only for our team, but I think Coach Williams is going to love him as well. Jrue’s attitude is, ‘Give me more. I can handle it.’ I know Coach Monty will continue to challenge him. It’s just going to continue to make him an even better player.”
The 2009-10 Philadelphia 76ers instituted a rule that practice couldn’t end until one of the team’s rookies made a left-handed layup.
Seemingly ambidextrous on a basketball court, the task came so easily for Jrue Holiday that 76ers coaches quickly changed the requirement, forcing Holiday to instead sink a left-handed free throw.
76ers instituted a rule that practice couldn’t end until one of the team’s rookies made a left-handed layup.
Seriously though, for an NBA team this a pretty lame hazing "rule". Or maybe an indicator of how bad basic basketball skils have eroded away.