New Orleans Pelicans’ Jrue Holiday was All-Star Snub

Jrue Holiday New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Jrue Holiday New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

Starting New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday has been having arguably the best season of his career, but it still was not been enough for him to be selected as an all-star.

As it stands, when the 2018-2019 All-Star game tips off in Charlotte next month, the New Orleans Pelicans will have one player on the court in big man Anthony Davis. As we all know, however, there’s a decent chance Davis won’t even be a Pelican anymore when the game tips off, which unfortunately would leave New Orleans without representation this year despite Pelicans’ starting guard Jrue Holiday arguably being a very deserving all-star choice himself.

Jrue has been selected as an all-star one time in his career in 2012-2013 during his final season with the Philadelphia 76ers in which he was clearly playing at a very high level. However, when you compare 2012-2013 to this season, it doesn’t take long to figure out that Holiday has continued to mature like a fine wine. He is currently in his 10th NBA campaign, and it’s been a remarkable one.

In 2012-2013, Jrue averaged 17.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, 8 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. In 2018-2019, Jrue is averaging 21.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 8 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. Jrue’s increase in scoring this year is substantial compared to his lone all-star campaign.

But I get it; Jrue is in the West now, and the talent level of backcourt players in his current conference is a little more competitive with guys like Steph Curry, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook essentially being automatic selections at this point. Still, there are a couple Western Conference all-star reserves this season that Jrue could easily replace, the most glaring of which is shooting guard Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors.

Thompson has had a very streaky year and started the season off much more slowly than what we’re used to seeing from him. When you compare the numbers between Klay and Jrue, Thompson has a small 0.5 points per game advantage over Jrue Holiday and is unsurprisingly shooting the ball better from three-point range.

Almost everywhere else though, Jrue gets the nod. Holiday has a whopping 6 more assists per game, almost a full rebound advantage, more steals, more blocks, a higher overall field goal percentage, a better player efficiency rating, and a much better plus/minus. Stats are not everything, to be sure, but it’s not difficult to figure out that Jrue has had a more consistently stellar season than Klay.

There are some other deserving players in the West that didn’t make the cut either, such as Tobias Harris of the Los Angeles Clippers and Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz, but if we’re assuming that the all-star voters wanted to select a fair number of backcourt players compared to frontcourt players, it makes Jrue’s case for being a snub more compelling since Harris and Gobert play in the frontcourt.

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Ultimately, the All-Star Game is largely a meaningless exhibition and can be a bit of a popularity contest, but it’s a nice honor for a player to be selected nonetheless. Jrue Holiday’s path to being named to the squad again could become easier in the future if the Pelicans happen to flip him to an Eastern Conference team as they presumably begin to rebuild after the upcoming loss of Anthony Davis. But even if Holiday finished the rest of his career with the New Orleans Pelicans, this level of play should translate to a Western Conference all-star selection at some point, even if it didn’t quite pan out this year.