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The Pelicans Have a New Most Important Player: Jrue Holiday

 

With the New Orleans Pelicans new addition of DeMarcus Cousins, they have created an old school twin towers situation. The potential is limitless between the two, but in order for it to work they will need to put the right pieces around them. They have a great start with Jrue Holiday. In order for a team with two dominant big men like Cousins and Davis to be successful, it needs a guard that can do three things: Push the ball up the court quickly, have great vision and passing skills, and be a scoring threat off of the ball.

Jrue Holiday is the perfect guard for a Cousins-Davis frontcourt. He is the key that will unlock the enormous potential of a dominant frontcourt in a small ball league. For the pelicans to leverage their ability to post up into offensive productivity, they need to run! The stigma of the plodding, slow paced post up team needs to be put to rest. In order for a post up team to be successful in today’s fast paced league it needs to fast break. If a post player is to be successful he needs the ball with time. When a team walks the ball up the floor, makes a pass to the wing, clears the space for a post entry, cuts away from the action or spaces back out, the shot clock is already under ten seconds. This does not leave the big man with enough time to survey the defense and make a decision whether to make a scoring move or draw a double team and kick to a shooter. If the Pelicans want to be successful in the post up game they need to run! Cousins and Davis are athletic enough to do it, but they need a guard who can push the ball. In walks Jrue Holiday. Holiday is an excellent athlete who would thrive in a fast paced offense. He has the skills and decision making to put immense pressure on defenses while taking care of the ball.

Getting the ball quickly up the floor is only half the battle though in trying to pull off an effective post up possession. The guard who pushes needs to have the ability to make a post entry pass. The entry pass is a lost art in today’s NBA game. With so many players completely abandoning the post for the perimeter, a simple, fundamental post entry pass has become nearly non-existent. Jrue Holiday with his size and vision can be excellent at entering the ball to the post in a timely and safe manner.

Finally, the guard who enters the ball into the post needs to be a threat to score off of the ball. This is what separates a good match between a guard and a post player from a perfect fit. Getting the ball to the big man in a position to be successful is half the battle; the other half is helping him by being a threat even without the ball. Holiday shoots 39% from three per ESPN, which is more than respectable. He is the type of shooter that needs to be game planned for. And not only is he a great shooter to give space to Cousins and Davis, he has all the tools to be a great cutter giving them passing lanes and giving the defense one more thing to think about. Offensively Jrue Holiday is the ideal point guard for a Cousins-Davis frontcourt. He can push the ball in transition, has the ability to get them the ball in positions to be successful, and is a threat to score even off of the ball. He is the key that will unlock huge productivity from the star big men.

Defensively, Holiday can be set free to hound opposing point guards knowing that he has two rim protectors behind him. He is most special on defense when harassing players making every single move difficult. He wears physically and mentally on point guards forcing them into mental mishaps. And that’s when he isn’t just taking the ball from them like a schoolyard bully. Feast your eyes on these awesome plays:

Jrue with the Deflection and Steal on Sacramento’s Ben McLemore

Holiday with an Easy Dunk after He Steals it from Sacramento’s Darren Collison

Holiday and Davis Play great Screen Defense Resulting in a Layup on the Other End

Jrue with the Excellent Read on Defense Creating a Turnover on Ricky Rubio

Holiday Forces a Trap on Detroit’s Caldwell-Pope

This list could have gone on forever. Holiday does these things every game. He is a pest of a defender giving opposing guards no chance to relax. He is every bit as annoying as some one like Patrick Beverly, but in a 6’4” athletic, strong frame.

Jrue Holiday may not be the Pelicans best player but he certainly could be their most important player. He has the ability to facilitate an offense that can be devastating to a small ball league. The 26 year old is the perfect fit to play with Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. The Pelicans should do whatever it takes to lock him up long term if they are as serious about competing deep in the playoffs, as this recent trade would suggest. And while everyone drools about how well Cousins and Davis mesh, I will be praising Holiday who is the reason the entire operation will work.

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