After leading the America East Conference in scoring for two consecutive years and guiding Boston University to an NCAA Tournament berth, now 27-year old Canton Charge wing John Holland has finally been given a bigger stage to perform on.
If the team's first-round sweep of the Maine Red Claws is any indication, Holland is here to show that he is able to light up the scoreboard regardless of the competition that he's going up against.
Throughout the team's two games against Maine, Holland averaged 28.5 points per game which included a lethal 58.8% from three-point range. While this scoring outburst may come as a surprise to some, Holland has been trending in this direction as he has had more time to adjust to the D-League.
Signed towards the end of December by the Charge, Holland saw his scoring pace grow each month that he had been with the team until it reached its peak in March, where he averaged an impressive 18.3 points on nearly 60% from the field.
He has proven to be a lights out shooter from distance, but what has really stood out about his game is the matter of ease in which he's able to get to the rim and finish. He's shooting nearly 70% on the season from within five feet, which is around 13% higher than NBA superstar James Harden and right on par with LeBron James.
While he has been helped by a Charge offensive system that ranks within the top half of the league in points per game, he has been able to generate offense on his own relatively often. More than half of his field goals within five feet are unassisted, a testament to his ability to beat his defenders off of the dribble and make his way into the paint.
During the series, it didn't matter if the Red Claws threw Marcus Thornton, James Young or even Corey Walden on Holland, he was able to thrive against any defender and stretched the defense out enough for Nick Minnerath to take advantage of the fact that they had started 6'7 Coty Clarke at center in Game 1.
Looking forward to next series against the stingy defense of the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Holland is certainly going to have his work cut out for him. He'll be defended by either Rodney McGruder or DeAndre Liggins, both of whom are able to shut down opposing perimeter players and each players that will make him work on the defensive side of the ball.
Through six match-ups with the Skyforce this season, Holland averaged just over 15 points on 48% shooting which on the surface is impressive, but both represent drop-offs from his season averages. The success that Sioux Falls has had in defending him is that they've been able to limit the clean looks that he's gotten from three-point range and it's resulted in him shooting 33% on five attempts per game, not nearly a high enough rate to effectively space the floor.
Even with the knowledge of his previous games in mind, Holland is someone who could play a major role in leading the Charge to a series upset over the Skyforce. Just as he had done with the Boston Terriers five years ago during his college days, it may be Holland's scoring that makes a difference in this upcoming series.