Beneath the Screen: Let’s Take a Holiday

Published: July 3, 2013

Since the draft day trade bringing him to the Pelicans there has been a lot of excitement around Jrue Holiday. On twitter and our site we’ve gone into why he’ll be a good fit with the Pelicans, but in today I want to go a little more in depth and look at how his strengths are likely to impact the Pelicans. To the Madistrator!

Getting to the Rim

Holiday’s best trait is that he is can attack and finish at the rim. The dude is fast and can be most defenders off the dribble. This forces defenses to keep extra defenders near the interior so they can rotate and help once he’s started his run. And when I say he’s good, take a look at this…

How Does This Impact the Pelicans?

First and foremost the Pelicans have a reliable (read: non-injury prone) player who can create his own offense. Fans cried out in protest when Monty when with a Gordon isolation play at the end of the game because he often didn’t come through. While they still may not be thrilled with an iso call, at least a guy like Holiday can manufacture his own look at the rim or kick out to an open shooter.

Strong Passing

I went through every one of Holiday’s 3-point assists. He’s stronger than he appears and it allows him to get great velocity on his passes. Skip passes that Vasquez struggles with Holiday should be able to complete. He is also passes after he jumps incredibly well. It’s tough to put into a single frame, but take a look and try and see what I mean.


Here the entire defense collapses to the side Holiday drives on. He jumps to get a better angle and makes a cross body pass with his right arm with a ton of velocity to Dorell Wright who nails the wide open three.

How Does This Impact the Pelicans?

Last season Holiday nearly double his assists per game (8) from the season before. His assist percentage increased 14.9% to 36.5%. And that’s while playing in Doug Collins’ dysfunctional offense and with guys like Nick Young. But pair him with Ryan Anderson and you might have the deadliest 3-point pick and combo in the league. I’ve written about how Monty has many different ways to get Ryan Anderson open looks, and rereading that post while subbing in Holiday should make coaches around the league tremble.

Spot up Shooting

While he doesn’t have the greatest shooting numbers–Holiday ranks slightly below average in FG%, eFG% and TS%–his spot up numbers from 3-point range are strong. Holiday boasts a 48.1 shooting percentage in those situations, well above the league average of 36%.

How Does This Impact the Pelicans?

If the Pelicans end up signing Tyreke Evans, you’ll hear a lot of how the team has too many ball handlers. A three guard lineup with Holiday, Evans and Eric Gordon and one ball doesn’t seem like it will produce optimal results. But with Holiday’s strong spot up shooting, he doesn’t need to be the primary ball handler. Evans and Gordon can slash to the basket and have Holiday and Anderson for the kick out.

The Pick and Roll

Off the pick and roll Holiday doesn’t often look for the roll man. He tends to drive to the rim, look for a backdoor cutter, or take an ill-advised jumper. This is why he scores 0.78 points per plays at the pick and roll ball handler which is good for 80th in the league. It’s not terrible, I guess, but it’s not good. As mentioned before, part of this is probably due to Doug Collins’ offense, and the fact that Andrew Bynum missed the entire season.

How Does This Impact the Pelicans?

Anthony Davis was a monster on the pick and roll with Vasquez and Brian Roberts, imagine what he can do with a slashing point guard like Holiday. Speed kills, and Holiday attacking the paint is going to force some bad defensive help rotations which should leave Davis wide open for a lob. As Tom Sunnergren said, they will “wreak your garden variety pick-and-roll havoc.” Defenses will be forced to choose between Davis, Holiday or Anderson on the perimeter.

Overall, Pelicans fan’s should be incredibly excited by the Holiday trade–and I haven’t even mentioned his defense. Holiday has areas to work on such as his shot selection, but overall he fits in with the Pelicans’ core extremely well. Expect to see him to set career high assist numbers playing with the likes of Davis, Anderson and Gordon (and maybe Evans).

Beneath the Screen is a reoccurring series only found on Bourbon Street Shots. See past editions here.


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