The emergence of Jrue Holiday as an all-star was one of the lone bright spots for the Sixers this season. His improved play and increasing assist totals provided some solace during an otherwise forgettable campaign for the franchise.
While Jrue's improvement has been impressive, now is no time for him to become content, as next season will be huge for both Holiday, and the future of the franchise.
Facing an offseason of extreme uncertainty, the organization's confidence in Holiday is clear, as it appears he will be a central piece in the rebuilding process, which places a big burden on Jrue's back.
Holiday needs to demonstrate that his initial all-star selection was not an aberration, and next season is his first step in proving that he is a perennial all-star-type player. Plenty of players have had a solid season and been named to an all-star team, only never to return. If the Sixers hope for a (somewhat) clear forecast in their immediate future, they had better hope that Holiday's game continues to expand and that he can firmly establish himself as one of the League's premier point guards.
Another benefit of Holiday's play this past season was the relative bargain which it came at. Jrue was paid roughly $2.7 million for the 2012-2013 campaign, making him the second least-paid player out of the 24 all-star selections last season. Only Indiana's Paul George, another first time all-star selection who collected $2.6 million, received less contract compensation than Holiday.
That aspect all changes next season, when Holiday's contract jumps up to $11 million per for the following four years. This is a substantial pay increase, and Holiday's output also needs to increase accordingly. Paying Holiday the big bucks limits the organization's opportunity to pursue other premier players, in effect hindering the amount of help they can provide Holiday.
While a contract increase is a blessing, it doesn't come without burden. With a new coach and what is sure to be a plethora of new players, the Sixers are going to face some uncertainty next season. While they may be able to reel in some relief for Jrue this summer, the job of team leader and floor general will fall to the organization's only current all-star, and the way he responds will be critical for the future of the franchise.