This afternoon Jimmy Smith of The New Orleans Times-Picayune wrote an interesting column on the Jrue Holiday trade now that the Pelicans have sent the number 10 overall pick in the 2014 draft to the 76ers to complete things.
The article touches on a few different things but comes back to losing the draft pick for another guard on a roster full of them but to me though it misses a few main points that must be discussed when looking at the trade.
First and foremost, when healthy, Holiday is far and away the best guard on the Pelicans roster. It was just a season ago that the young guard was an All-Star, and a well-deserved one at that. Holiday shoots the ball well from behind the arc, creates for his teammates (check the SportsVu post on passing for more info), and defends, a combination of three skills that none of the Tyreke Evans, Brian Roberts, Austin Rivers, Eric Gordon group can match. The most encouraging part of it all though is Holiday is going to be just 24 years old next season, leaving realistic hope he can continue to grow as a player.
Secondly at number 10 overall there isn’t likely to be a player better than Holiday available, especially someone who will clearly be better over the next few years. While it would have been nice for New Orleans to add a piece like James Young at 10 they had no guarantee that Young will be a great or even good player. With Holiday they added a player that had been proven in the NBA, someone they could count on being useful next to Anthony Davis going forward, even if he doesn’t improve anymore.
That doesn’t mean the Holiday trade was a home run though, almost all of that will be determined by Nerlens Noel. If Noel recovers fine from his torn ACL and becomes what some people thought he could be prior to the injury, there is a likelihood that New Orleans loses the trade. After all rim protectors are the hardest thing to find in the NBA and a team with Noel and Anthony Davis, who both have the ability to be elite rim protectors, would have been almost impossible to score upon. If Noel adds an offensive game, which based on his athleticism and fluidity seems entirely possible and he can vault himself to the discussion just under Davis, Andre Drummond and others as the best big men in the game five or six years down the line.
But if Noel just becomes a Larry Sanders type elite rim protector with a limited offensive game and whoever gets pick at 10 becomes just a role player it will be hard to say the Holiday trade was one-sided as Smith said. After all if Holiday continues to be the player he was in the first half of the 2012-2013 season the Pelicans have a player that will fit great next to Davis who is headed for top five player in the league status.
Judging the trade based on a pick that fell due to injuries is hard. In reality no one knows yet who actually won the Holiday trade considering the three players involved played a combined 34 games last year. So sit back, enjoy and a few years from now we can actually debate this with some evidence.
Tags: New Orleans Pelicans