Season Goals: Jrue Holiday’s Shooting Consistency

PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 12: Jrue Holiday
PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 12: Jrue Holiday /

This article is the third in a series about every Pelican’s most important goal or goals for the 2017-2018 season. To read the first article, about Anthony Davis click here. To read the second, about DeMarcus Cousins click here.

During the 2017 free agency, New Orleans signed veteran point guard, and Franklin the Turtle look alike, Rajon Rondo to a one year, 3 million dollar contract. With the signing, the Pelicans add to a position many fans felt was spoken for.

Since being traded to New Orleans back in 2014 Jrue Holiday has been the team’s starting point guard without question. Now, with the addition of another ball-dominant guard, one may develop concerns for what may come of this new backcourt. Well Pelicans fans worry not, for head coach Alvin Gentry has already thought of a plan. In an interview with “Dunc & Holder“, Gentry spoke of how the two will actually be starting games together, as he “[likes] Jrue [Holiday] off the ball to start the game as a scorer.”

Defensively the backcourt combination can definitely work for, at 6’4″ with a 6’7″ wingspan, and a 1.18 defensive real plus-minus rating, Holiday has the ability to defend a variety of different positions. However, Gentry may be wrong about how Holiday pairs with Rondo offensively.

Now this is not the first time that Holiday has played in lineups with other point guards, as last year he and Tim Frazier played about 450 minutes together. Although the Frazier-Holiday lineup turned out to be successful (a net-rating of +.5 per 100 possessions) there should be cause for concern with a Holiday-Rondo pairing.

For starters, there’s clearly a ball dominance problem. When Frazier was in the lineup last year, Holiday had the ball in his hands a majority of the time. Frazier’s game relies heavily on off-ball movement. This worked well with Holiday, for his play involvement (true shot attempts+assists+turnovers) was higher than Frazier’s.

Rondo, on the other hand, is a different bread of player. Throughout his career, Rondo has been a ball-dominant guard who’s ability to set up plays for others was invaluable to a team. Due to his lack of scoring prowess, Rondo is best suited on the ball if the Pelicans want to have positive production on the offensive end while he’s on the court. This does not bode well for Holiday, for his off ball game is less than stellar.

Before the 2017-2018 All-Star break, this was no issue for Holiday, as he shot 36.6% on catch-and-shoot three-point attempts. Couple this with a 57% effective field goal percentage, and you have the makings for a quality all around scorer. Unfortunately, as the season progressed, Holiday did not have the same off-ball touch, shooting 23.7% on catch-and-shoot three-point attempts.

MUST READ: Pelicans Predictions- Rondo To Lead NBA In Assists In 2017-18

His poor shooting also had a negative effect when playing with Frazier. Despite Frazier-Holiday lineups attaining a net-rating of .5 for the whole season, the duo performed very inconsistently between pre and post All-Star break. The combo sported a very solid 3.3 net-rating before the All-Star break, but a -2.3 net-rating after, as both Frazier and Holiday’s shooting strokes were seemingly forgotten. Holiday’s three-point percentage declined from 39.3% pre-break to 30.1% post-break while Frazier’s went from 34.9% to 24.4%.

And much like Frazier, the Pelicans will not be able to count on Rondo to provide consistent shooting either. As previously mentioned, Rondo’s shooting arsenal is quite non-existent. Because of this, Holiday must step up and become a more consistent off ball shooter if the Pels want to have any success with dual point guard lineups.

Like many point guards, Holiday has no problem shooting off the dribble. Last season, Holiday shot 37.6% on pull up threes, and was eleventh in the league in pull-up threes per game. Holiday’s success in this department was due to his ability to extend over defenders in the pick and roll.

Next: Ranking Every New Orleans Pelicans Offseason Move

But, now, with less pick and roll opportunities after the Rondo acquisition, Holiday will need to find more three-pointers off the catch. It is up to him whether or not he adjusts.

If the Pelicans want to see any semblance of positive offensive productivity, Jrue Holiday must improve upon his off-ball scoring. If not, it could be quite a long year for New Orleans.