The Mavs have signed Tu Holloway, the team announced today. He’s a familiar face around the facility, having played in the Summer League for the Mavericks in 2012 and participating in training camp that fall.
The 6-foot point guard played four seasons at collegiate powerhouse Xavier, where he averaged 13.7 points and 4.1 assists. Perhaps his best season came during his junior year, when he scored 19.7 points and dished out 5.4 dimes per contest on his way to being named the 2010-11 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and clinching a spot on the AP All-American Third Team.
Most recently, he averaged 13.6 points and 3.5 assists per game across all leagues and competitions last season playing with clubs in Mexico, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico.
During his senior campaign at Xavier in 2011-12, Holloway finished in the 86th percentile nationally in points per possession, according to Synergy Sports. He rated very well both in isolation and the pick-and-roll. The latter, especially, appeared to be a strength of his, as he finished ninth in PPP among 30 athletes who registered at least 150 pick-and-roll possessions. Behind Holloway in that group were eventual NBA Draft picks Trey Burke, Isaiah Canaan, and Peyton Siva.
Holloway now becomes the fourth true point guard on the roster behind Deron Williams, J.J. Barea, and Raymond Felton. While Devin Harris has played the 1-spot for other teams during his career, all signs point to him playing off the ball for Dallas this season, regardless of what the injury situation looks like.
The new addition has been a bright spot this preseason
In Williams’ and Felton’s injury-induced absence, first-year Maverick John Jenkins has been playing point guard in addition to shooting guard this preseason. A 2-guard by trade, Jenkins has performed well, averaging 20.3 points per game in Dallas’ first three contests. However, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle wants to see Jenkins play off the ball more moving forward, and Holloway’s presence on the roster could free up some space for him to do just that.
“I really love the way he’s playing,” Carlisle said about the sharpshooting Jenkins. “I’d like to get him playing more 2. Point guard’s not ideal, but he’s doing a surprisingly good job with it.”
Standing just six feet tall, Holloway’s height could be considered something working against him. However, he makes up for it with a lengthy 6-foot-5-plus wingspan and a 35-inch maximum vertical leap. That certainly aided him on the defensive side of the ball at Xavier, where he forced a turnover nearly 25 percent of the time as a senior against the pick-and-roll, according to Synergy.
It’s become clear that in today’s NBA, point guards must be able to threaten opposing defenses with a reliable three-point shot. After shooting 33.8 percent in four seasons at Xavier, Holloway has steadily improved his percentages from deep throughout his international career, topping out last season at an impressive 42.6 percent on 3.3 attempts per game in 49 appearances for Halcones Rojos in the Mexican LNBP.
Holloway will have an opportunity to impress the coaching staff the rest of the way and continue to improve his own game, and his presence will also make things more comfortable for Jenkins, who could have the opportunity to exclusively play his natural position. In that respect, it’s a win-win move for all parties involved.
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