Josh Christopher's NBA All-Star Comp
Simply playing in the NBA for any period of time is an accomplishment for the 24th pick in the draft. Over the past five drafts, the best player selected with the 24th pick is Anfernee Simons. While Simons has had a breakout fourth season, his defensive limitations will likely relegate him to a sixth man on a true contender.
Josh Christopher contributing in the NBA as a rookie has completely changed the outlook on his career. Most draft boards had him pegged as a second-round talent, and even the most optimistic evaluators believed he’d be a G-League All-Star in his rookie season.
The main driver of Christopher’s unexpected success has been his shooting touch being far better than expected. In his only collegiate season, he shot 30.5% from three. Thus far in his NBA career, he has hit 34.7% of this triples.
While the surprisingly accurate shooting has allowed Christopher to contribute as a rookie, it’s his passing chops that give him the chance to be more than a role player. In 16 minutes a night, Christopher has averaged 1.7 assists with a 20.9% usage rate. As an auxiliary option on offense, Christopher is flashing the ability to set teammates up that could allow him to run an offense.
If “Jay Gup” can continue to defy the odds, he has the athleticism and size to be an NBA All-Star. The current All-Star that can give us a glimpse into Christopher’s future is Jrue Holiday.
Josh Christopher's NBA All-Star Comp: Jrue Holiday
The two have similar bodies that combine strength and length in a quick twitch package. The physical similarities give Christopher the chance to develop into an excellent defensive player like Holiday.
On offense, the two have been strikingly similar in their rookie seasons. On a per 36-minute basis, Holiday averaged 12 points, 5.7 assists, and 3.9 rebounds on 46.5% 2-point shooting and 39% 3-point shooting. Christopher, on a per 36-minute basis, has posted averages of 15.9 points, 3.9 assists, and 4.5 rebounds on 52.4% 2-point shooting and 34.7% 3-point shooting.
The main difference between the two has been that Holiday spent 78% of the time at point guard and Christopher has predominantly player shooting guard with a little small forward sprinkled in.
Following Holiday’s rookie season, he became one of the best perimeter defenders in the league, improved his playmaking, and maintained his scoring efficiency while increasing his shot volume.
What are the chances that Christopher matches Holiday? Probably in the 5% range. Part of the problem is positional. There’s a real chance he never plays enough point guard to come close to approximating Jrue Holiday. The other problem is how much better Jrue Holiday became after his rookie season. Outside of 3-point shooting efficiency, Holiday got better at everything.
Josh Christopher doesn’t need to become Jrue Holiday to have been a great pick, but it would make him the perfect backcourt complement to Jalen Green.