(Second installment of the Player Profile series: See Tyreke Evans)
It’s the age of the point guard in the NBA. There are so many elite point guards in the league right now. In order to win at a high level, a team must have a good point guard. New Orleans had Greivis Vasquez, but they knew they needed an upgrade if they wanted to contend for the playoffs. So they went out and got Jrue Holiday.
Holiday ended up in New Orleans via a trade sending Pelicans draftee Nerlens Noel to Philadelphia. New Orleans figured that an established All-Star point guard is better than an injured, unproven center.
Say what you want about Jrue Holiday, but the fact of the matter is: He’s the only All-Star on the Pelican’s roster. Jrue Holiday is a know-what-you’re- gonna-get type of player. He’s a guy with All-Star caliber talent, exceptional work-ethic, and a humble, polite attitude.
Holiday was very highly recruited out of high school. In his one season at UCLA, he had a less-than-impressive season due to the fact that he was forced the play SG alongside future NBA first-round pick Darren Collison. However, scouts still saw his potential and he was drafted 17th overall in 2009 by the Philadelphia 76ers.
He followed up a so-so rookie season with vast improvement, averaging 14.0 ppg, 6.5 apg, and 4.0 rpg while playing in all 82 regular season games. Although he was slowed down the following season with injuries and a drop in numbers, he had the best season of his career in 2012-2013. Holiday averaged 17.7 ppg, 8.0 apg, 4.2 rpg, and was selected to his first ever All-Star team. That brings us to the present.
Holiday, along with Anthony Davis, is the only other player on New Orleans’ roster that has a spot in the starting lineup locked up. Holiday will most likely get the majority of the point guard minutes, with Tyreke Evans also taking some of the primary ball-handling duties.
Holiday is a hybrid of the two most common types of point guards in today’s NBA:
1. Scoring guard (Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook)
2. Pass-first guard (Rajon Rondo, Greivis Vasquez)
He plays a similar style to former New Orleans All-Star point guard Chris Paul. He has a nice jump-shot which he utilizes in multiple ways. He can spot up and hit the three, but he’s best in the mid-range pull up game. His athleticism allows him to make hard drives to the basket where he can either finish or dish to a teammate. His passing skills are top-notch as well. As evident with his 8.0 assists per game average last year. His ball-handling skills are good. He has a career average of 2.7 turnovers a game, with the highest coming last season with 3.7.
Holiday has a chance to become the face of the franchise in New Orleans. Obviously Anthony Davis is poised to become an NBA superstar, but Holiday is better right now and could create a dangerous guard-big combo with Davis that could lead the Pelicans to new heights. With all the uncertainties in the upcoming season, a few things are certain: Jrue Holiday is one of the best players, if not the best, on the Pelicans’ roster and he is a vital part to the franchise’s future.