The 2016-2017 New Orleans Pelicans season did not go as planned. Some Pelicans shined, while others fell short. Jrue Holiday‘s season left more questions than answers.
Jrue Holiday’s year was replete with adversity. His resilience truly warrants respect. His wife’s surgery on a brain tumor understandably stalled his return to action. Jrue’s first game would not be until November 18th, against the Portland Trail Blazers. In his absence, the Pelicans struggle to remain relevant in the Western Conference. They would start the year 2-10.
After the tumultuous beginning to Jrue’s season, Holiday began to emerge as an essential cog. That is, in regards to the New Orleans Pelicans’ midseason success. In his return against Portland, the Pelicans won quite easily. Holiday would record 21 points and seven assists in 23 minutes. This performance embarked a four-game winning streak for New Orleans.
In 67 games, the Pelicans were 32-35 when Holiday was active (and therefore 2-13 without his services). He scored more than 30 points thrice and recorded 10+ assists 16 times.
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It’s no secret that Jrue is adept defensively, because of his commendable lateral quickness and leaping ability. He’s capable of stronger weakside defensive coverage than most point guards in the NBA.
Holiday is also not a turnstile, when required to handle post players after switching onto them. Though defensive statistics are potentially noisy, Holiday held his opponents to a -3.7 percent differential on two-point attempts and a -3.4 percent differential on three-point attempts.
Yet ideally, the three-player conglomerate of Jrue Holiday, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins would have created a more prolific offensive attack and greater net rating, than what fans witnessed in their 376 minutes together.
After the All-Star Break, Jrue Holiday impacted an underwhelming offensive rating of 103.4. However, he contributed to an impressive defensive rating of 100.6. That accounts for a pleasant net rating of +2.8.
But with superstar talent, this result is not above reproach and may be problematic when examining this team’s future. That includes mulling other free agent options, who could potentially bring forth stronger offensive production quickly.
Jrue Holiday would likely become immune to critique, if he were more proficient as a scoring guard. Holiday was 55th percentile in Pick-and-Roll ball handler situations, with an 18.2 percent turnover frequency. Additionally, he was a mere 30.8 percent on catch & shoot three-pointers.
If the Pelicans saw a greater return on their investment from an offensive standpoint, then they might have had a stronger playoff push after the Cousins’ acquisition. Though jettisoning to the top of the NBA in offensive efficiency was not expected straightaway, the Pelicans’ offense was simply average after the All-Star Break at 105.5 points per possession.
Therefore, the New Orleans Pelicans front office will have to make an important decision to make, concerning whether they are content with the production that Jrue Holiday can provide.