Leaning against the scorer's table inside the Palestra after a recent free scrimmage for fans, the 76ers' Jrue Holiday is fielding questions in the even-keeled demeanor he channels so naturally. The 21-year-old point guard is explaining the balance he must achieve for the Sixers to be successful.

He plays the thinking man's position on the floor, and the chin- rubbing, furrowed brow, and gaze upward toward the venerable old building's ceiling indicate as much.

"Every team that Jason Kidd has been to, I feel like they've been pretty good," Holiday says. "I remember when he played us in Philly, and he had a triple-double."

Holiday is referring to a March loss to the eventual world champion Dallas Mavericks.

"He didn't have any points in the first half," the 6-foot-4, 180-pound Holiday says of Kidd. "He had, like, 10 assists and 10 rebounds in the first half, and then he got his points.

"For me, as a point guard, you have to construct everything. If you make everybody happy, you are going to be happy. As a point guard, you don't really have to score. The only time you have to score is when you have to score."

Holiday continues.

"Let's say we come down, and we miss six straight baskets, and we have to score. We need a basket. I'm going to call my play. I'm going to run something for me that I know I score on 90 percent of the time."

For Holiday, it is a delicate balance being the point guard for this team. After stark increases in scoring - he went from 8 points per game to an average of 14 - and assists - from 3.8 to 6.5 - in his second season, it is the precocious Holiday who many Sixers fans see as the key building block on the roster as it is constituted.

His goals are lofty. He wants to be an all-star and an Olympian. "If you are an Olympian you are considered to be the best, like Kobe and 'Melo," he says, referring to Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony.

However, in a league in which young point guards, such as Chicago's reigning MVP, Derrick Rose, or Oklahoma City's explosive Russell Westbrook, are constantly in attack mode, Holiday plays for a Sixers team devoid of a superstar and constructed from an all-for-one blueprint.

A Western Conference scout seated at the Wells Fargo Center earlier this week watched Holiday score 15 of his game-high 24 points in the fourth quarter in a 101-94 preseason victory over the Washington Wizards. Holiday, who went 4 for 5 from the field in the fourth quarter - including 2 for 2 from behind the three-point line - dominated the 6 minutes, 44 seconds he played in the final period.

The scout, who requested anonymity so as to speak freely, pointed out that Holiday has improved his shooting in each of his first two seasons. He said that Doug Collins was a coach who will continue to teach him the position.

The scout said that Holiday's work habits will never come into question. However, he pointed out that players such as Rose, Westbrook, and other impact point guards, are, in some cases, better athletes than Holiday.

"He's not the athlete they are. The league is driven by point guards, but the league is also becoming increasingly driven by athleticism, speed, explosion, and those things," the scout said. "It seems like most of the guys that stand out now are the elite athletes. He might have some barrier there, but I think he's going to be a terrific player."

Holiday is quick to deflect the notion that he is the team's centerpiece.

"I don't think I'm the focal point," he says. "I think I'm a good addition. I think I'm a good piece to kind of get us in a good place."

And that good place is . . .?

"Playing winning basketball in Philly," Holiday says. "Philly has that tradition of great basketball. We want to restore it to that place." 

This was part one of the Inquirer's four-day Sixers preview. Check back Saturday, Sunday and Monday for the next three parts.

Jrue Holiday's Career Statistics



2009-10       230-520 .442    62-159 .390 65-86 .756 191 280 18 79 153 156 587     8.0

2010-11       446-999 .446    81-222 .365 72-209 .823 332 531 29 120 203 218 1145     14.0

Career       676-1519 .445 143-381 .375 237-295 .803 523 811 47 199 356 374 1732     11.2



2010-11      24-58 .414 11-21 .524 12-15 .800 19 28 2 10 10 11 71     14.2


Starting Friday, watch videos and read the entire four-day 76ers and NBA preveiw package as it unfolds at www.philly.com/sixers EndText