On draft night 2013, the New Orleans Pelicans made a trade that has left critics and experts wondering what the future will hold for both teams involved. Unexpectedly, the 2013 draft’s number one prospect, Nerlens Noel, fell to the Pelicans at the number six spot. Shortly after taking Noel the Pelicans shipped him off to Philadelphia along with a top-5 protected 2014 first round draft pick for 2013 all-star point guard Jrue Holiday.
Jrue Holiday grew up in Chattsworth, California and attended Campbell Hall High School where he was a top 5 high school basketball recruit in the 2008 class. Holiday stayed close to home and attended the UCLA where he stared with a fellow point guard, the Dallas Mavericks’ Darren Collison. After being drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers 17th overall in the 2009 NBA draft , Holiday hasn’t looked back. Last year Holiday made a huge leap, becoming an Eastern Conference All-star for the first time in his four year career, averaging 17.7 ppg, 8.0 apg, and shot 36% from three point rang. Hopefully this is a sign of what is yet to come for the young budding star.
Holiday’s improvement since coming into the league should be a great sign of his progress going forward. What Holiday can bring to the Pelicans is a skilled young point guard to go along with the young nucleus of Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon. Holiday has a great ability to attack the paint and get into the teeth of the opposing teams. Holiday is a very tough and strong guard at 6’4” and 205 lbs, which interestingly enough is around the weight Nerlens Noel came into the draft. Holiday has improved much on his three point shooting ability and moves well without the ball. Holidays passing skills were on display last year as he finished number 4 in the league in assist per game, one spot behind Pelicans current point guard Greivis Vasquez. Many experts and critics had Jrue Holiday nominated for the Most Improved Player award this past season, but he lost to Indiana Pacer Paul George.
Holiday has consistently been known as a good defender with above average defending skills. Holiday has really improved his ability to cause turnovers without fouling, giving credit to his former head coach Doug Collins. Jrue Holiday helped the Philadelphia 76ers to becoming one of the top defensive teams in the NBA last year and will hopefully help turn around the Pelicans’ defense around as well. Holiday is in his fourth year and still has a lot to polish both offensively and defensively. Holiday still needs to work on not being too overly aggressive when putting pressure on the ball handler and needs to learn when to pick his spots when pressuring. Too often, he overcommits to putting pressure on the ball and the opposing teams point guard gets right into the lane, which causes problems for the help defense. Also Holiday gets to the lane aggressively but tends to pass out or avoid taking the foul to shoot free throws. As well as Holiday penetrated the paint last year, he only attempted 3.0 free throw attempts per 36 minutes of game time action. If Holiday can work on his ability to draw a foul and his ability to be an outstanding on the ball perimeter defender, he should be one of the faces of the Pelicans franchise for years to come.