Jrue Holiday is a Top 10 PG whether you want to admit it or not.
I vividly remember reading about UCLA’s talented backcourt in the 2009 edition of Slam Magazine. Those days I spent probably 22 hours in a day playing, thinking, reading, and dreaming about basketball. The rest was dedicated to food.
Jrue Holiday was touted as a beast of a guard after winning the 2008 National Gatorade Player of the Year. He was ranked as the #1 point guard coming out of high school and joined elite high school company by playing in the McDonald’s All-American game.Jrue was drafted 17th overall by the 76ers in the 2009 NBA Draft and spent four years with the underachieving squad that wasn’t yet Trusting the Process. Despite the lack of championship play from the organization, Holiday excelled and became the youngest player in franchise history to be named an All-Star.
So why does Holiday seem to be overlooked when it comes to the conversations about the best point guards in the league? Just the other day I was having a debate with a guy at work and I said, “Jrue Holiday is one of the top 10 PGs in the NBA.” The look he gave me reminded me of when I told my mom, at the age of 7, I wanted to be a window washer as a career. Before you share similar sentiments with mom, hear me out:
After Holiday’s stint with the Sixers, he was traded to the Pelicans in 2013. He was averaging 14.3 ppg, 7.9 apg and 1.6 spg in 34 games. From there he had multiple injury-riddled seasons, missing 41 games in 2015 and 17 games in 2016. To make things worse, Holiday was forced to miss the start of the ’16-’17 season after finding out his wife had a brain tumor while pregnant with their first child.
With all his troubles behind him, Holiday re-signed with the Pelicans this past summer and returned to have his best statistical season of his career. He missed only one game this season and averaged 19 ppg, 6 apg and 4.5 rpg while sharing backcourt duties with veteran Rajon Rondo. The Pelicans clinched the 6-seed in the stacked Western Conference and just put their brooms away after sweeping the Portland Trailblazers in the first round.
Again, these regular-season Holiday stats I’m throwing at you definitely don’t scream “best in the league,” but just check out what he’s done in the playoffs:
So far in the postseason, Holiday has boosted his average to 26.3 ppg and 6.6 apg. In the finale against Portland, he put up a career high 41 points while shooting 65 percent from the field; that’s not something easily overlooked. As I watched Holiday and Anthony Davis lead their squad to victory on Saturday, I noticed the leadership Holiday brings to his team on both sides of the ball. Holiday is also physically imposing, standing at 6’4 with a 6’7 wingspan. The way he locked down two of the leagues premier scorers showcased flashes of greatness. He imposed his will on the Trailblazers, hitting jump-shots and breaking through contact only to finish gracefully at the rim.
Lets go a bit deeper. Could Jrue Holiday be a worthy exchange for Damian Lillards spot on the top 10 list? I think if you base the argument on how they played this year in the playoffs, its worth a bit of conversation. Damian Lillard is universally considered as one of the leagues best, and he is for sure, but Dame struggled immensely against the solid defense of Holiday and the Pelicans. Lillard and his Trailblazers are now 0-10 in their last 10 playoff games. During the regular season Lillard averaged a team high 26.9ppg while shooting at a 44 percent clip – not bad at all; enough to place 6th in scoring. In his playoff appearance he averaged 18.5ppg and shot a mere 35 percent from the field, all at the hands of Jrue Holiday. I’m not taking anything from Dame, dude is a beast and a pure hooper, but Holiday showed us he’s not afraid of the NBA’s elite and deserves to be mentioned alongside them.
The truth of the matter is that it’s not good enough to be dominate throughout the regular season and ghost when it matters most. Great guards are consistent and show up when it matters most – Holiday showed up at the right time. What Holiday has lacked thus far is an ability to stay healthy for a full season; that is until now. A healthy Holiday should be scary news for the NBA’s elite guards – he’s here and he’s ready.
Before the start of the 2017-2018 season, Bleacher Report released a ranking of the top 10 point guards in the league. Holiday was placed on the Honorable Mention list and was placed at 13th after Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas at 12 and 11. My question to all my viewers is should Holiday replace anyone on the top 10 list? You decide for yourself:http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2734538-ranking-the-top-10-nba-point-guards-entering-2017-18-season