Steve Nash, Jrue Holiday

Steve Nash says Sixers Jrue Holiday should be an All-Star


Is Jrue Holiday an All-Star player?

Holiday wants to be and after he dropped 26 points and 10 assists on the Lakers Tuesday night Steve Nash told the Los Angeles Times he thinks Holiday should be. (Insert your own joke about playing like an All-Star against Steve Nash’s defense here.)

“Obviously they’re a different team with him. We beat them at their place by 20 without him,” Nash said (the margin was actually 13 points in the December meeting, 111-98). “I think he gives them obviously a very talented players but he also makes guys around him better. He makes it more difficult for you to guard [Evan] Turner, [Jason] Richardson and the other guys on the perimeter….

“He’s a terrific player,” Nash said. “He’s an All-Star this year.”

Holiday is having the best year of his career, having to take on a lot more offensive load with Andre Iguodala in the Rockies and Andrew Bynum in a rehab facility (or bowling or wherever). It’s not just that he had to take on more shots, it’s that he’s hitting them at a higher percentage than ever (45.4) and getting to the line more often. He is scoring 17.6 points a game and dishing out 8.9 assists per contest. His PER is a career best 18.7.

But All-Star in the East?

It’s close. There will probably be five or so backcourt players on the East roster and the fans are voting Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo in as the starters (Holiday is eighth on that list).

After that who do you put in? I would probably go Kyrie Irving, Monta Ellis and Holiday. But I could be swayed another direction. Is Holiday better than the slumping Deron Williams? What about Raymond Felton (who should be back from his broken finger around the All-Star Game)? Lou Williams has been playing well in Atlanta. Kemba Walker is putting up numbers as a Bobcat.

It’s tight. But Holiday is close. And he got one big endorsement.

Carmelo Anthony says he can play at high level 4-5 more years

USA Basketball Men's National Team Training Camp

Carmelo Anthony can flat-out score the rock — that has never been the question. Even hurting last season for many of the 40 games he played, he averaged 24.2 points a game, had a true shooting percentage of 53.1 percent (right near the league average) while having the entire weight of the Knicks offense on his shoulders (32.2 usage rate, fifth highest in the NBA). When people (or players) talk about him being overrated, the discussion turns to defense or if he makes his teammates better. But there should be no doubt Anthony is an elite scorer.

He thinks he will be for a while longer — like another five years. Via Ian Begley of ESPN:

In fact, the 31-year-old Knicks star is confident that he can play at a high level for the next “four or five years.”

“Without a doubt. Without a doubt,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ final training camp practice on Saturday.

The Knicks better hope that’s true, they already made that bet with that massive five-year contract they gave him last summer.

Anthony’s age combined with him coming off knee surgery have a lot of people — myself included — expecting him to take a step back. Not a big one, but he is coming up at the point in his career where some open shots he used to get are now contested because he’s half-a-step slower, and some of those looks don’t fall as often. His jumper isn’t suddenly going to look like Rajon Rondo‘s, ‘Melo is going to get his points, but he may not be as efficient.

Fortunately, the Knicks have an improved supporting cast around him this season. That should take some offensive load off his shoulders, and maybe the Knicks offense will see better ball movement and start to resemble the triangle. If it’s just more isolation Anthony, it’s not going to be pretty.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.