Name: Jrue Holiday
Team: New Orleans Pelicans
2016-2017 Regular Season General Stats: 15.4 pts 7.3 ast 3.9 reb 1.5 stl 45.4 FG% 35.6 3P% 70.8 FT%
2016-2017 Regular Season Advanced Stats: 17.1 PER 53.2 TS% 3.8 WS 1.2 OBPM 0.5 DBPM 2.0 VORP
Jrue Holiday showed courage in a season where his number one focus was far from basketball. The Pelicans began the season 2-10 while he stayed home to tend to his wife who was recovering from brain cancer surgery.
On November 18th Holiday returned against the Portland Trail Blazers and sparked a 4 game winning streak which began his role as one of the lone sparks that the Pels could rely on night in and night out. The Pelicans flirted with playoff contention late into the year with a 32-35 record while having Jrue at the helm (2-13 without him).
In many ways, 2016-2017 was the best season of Jrue Holiday’s 8-year career. For the first time, his shooting percentage reached over 45% (45.3) and boasted an effective field goal percentage of over 50 (50.9) for the first time since his rookie season. Per basketball reference.com, Holiday shot a career-high 50.6% from midrange (10-16 ft). The midrange game can often be forgotten as teams lean towards more analytics-friendly attempts at the basket or 3 point attempts. Players like Jrue and DeMar DeRozan can often be seen as throwbacks to a different era of effective scorers from mid-range.
Holiday has never been known as a true scoring guard as the bulk of his production comes from his talent on defense. He is a long 6’4 and strong enough to guard both backcourt positions as well as hold his own against post players in pick and roll switch situations. He never gives up on a play and his length allows him to be a game-changer in both transitional and half court situations.
Jrue had 3 games of 30+ points and numerous 20 point games while playing the bulk of his minutes at shooting guard after Tim Frazier assumed point guard duties. It should be noted how efficient he was this season after changing positions and also roles while becoming the third scoring option after the Demarcus Cousins trade. With the addition of Rajon Rondo this year the New Orleans Pelicans anticipate Holiday to continue to be an effective off the ball player and hope that Rondo can turn him, Anthony Davis, and Cousins into a big 3 to be reckoned with within the West.
Certainly, Rondo and Holiday make a stingy defensive backcourt and New Orleans fans can only hope that that energy carries over offensively. After the all-star break, the Pelicans had a lukewarm 103.8 offensive rating and should see that number improve after an off-season to work Cousins into the system as well as everyone else into their new roles.
Jrue Holiday is a very talented guard who only has fallen to number 48 on his list because of his health problems in the past. Jrue himself knows that he deserves to be higher on this list and we are looking forward to Jrue proving this to us this upcoming season.