The Numbers Say Jrue Holiday Can’t Play With Eric Gordon

Published: January 3, 2014

A little more than a week ago, I told you that Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday were the backcourt of the future, but it was more based on how great Tyreke was than anything having to do with Gordon. But now that we have more data of Jrue without Eric Gordon, due to his recent injury, the numbers are alarming. Check this out:

– When Jrue is on the court WITHOUT Gordon, he shoots 48.9% from the field and averages 21.25 points, 9 assists, and just 2.65 turnovers per 36 minutes. Oh, and the Pelicans are +7.4 per 36 minutes.

– When Jrue is on the court WITH Eric Gordon, he shoots just 43.8% and averages 14.45 points, 8.5 assists, and 3.5 turnovers per 36 minutes. And the Pelicans are just +.18 per 36 minutes.

– For those too lazy to do the math; Almost seven fewer points per 36, shooting 5.1% lower, .5 less assists while averaging nearly one more turnover. And most importantly, the team as a whole is 7.2 points worse per 36 minutes.

– Biggest change? Holiday gets to the basket far more often, as he takes 37.4% of his shots within 5 feet when Gordon is off the court and he makes 57% of those shots.

– The Pelicans offensive rating goes through the roof – 113.1 with Holiday on and Gordon off. 107.2 with both on. Pace doesn’t change much but the assist to turnover ratio is vastly improved. Also, this might be random, but Holiday’s offensive rebound percentage nearly doubles.

– Bringing this back to Tyreke vs. Gordon, Jrue’s numbers soar even higher when he is on the court with Tyreke. MUCH higher FG% and 3-point percentage. Fewer turnovers and nearly twice as many steals on a per minute basis. Pelicans are also 8.8 points per 36 better with Jrue and Tyreke on versus when Jrue is on w/o Tyreke.


This is just getting insane. The Jrue/Evans combo is fantastic and Jrue is obviously handcuffed playing with Gordon. I understand that Gordon’s contract makes him virtually untradeable right now, but putting him on the bench is a legitimate option and one Monty MUST explore. Not only does Holiday play better with Evans, but AD does too.

Moving Gordon to the bench allows you to still have some firepower in your second unit, and could even increase his trade value if he puts up quality numbers against opposing teams second units. But honestly, you can’t even worry about Gordon or his trade value. You have to do what is best for your team, and when you look at it that way, the choice is clear.



  1. bobmurrell

    January 4, 2014 at 12:04 am

    Been saying for weeks to move Gordon to the bench. He and Ryno are good together. Tyreke and Jrue are great together. All that matters is they finish.

  2. Pelican Poster

    January 4, 2014 at 12:05 am

    Numbers don’t lie for sure, but I’d still like to see how they look across an entire season.  I would think things might even out a bit over the long haul.  Still, I do like Evans game and the bowling ball moniker is spot on. One of his most impressive drives was late against Portland when he laid it high off the right glass near the big boys…Gordon historically had gotten his share of free throw attempts on his drives…he just is not as good at it as Evans and I dare say not many are…btw, what the heck happened to AD’s free throw shooting of late?!

  3. kfte

    January 4, 2014 at 12:27 am

    I agree 100%. It would definitely help our second unit. I know I get sick and tired of watching Eric and his one man fast break. He had turnover tonight when we had a three own one and screwed-up the break, being selfish.

  4. mojart

    January 4, 2014 at 1:45 am

    Can you send this article to dealer dell….its worth a look…
    My conclusion……jrue and reke is the pelicans backcourt of the present and the future

  5. NOEngineer

    January 4, 2014 at 5:43 am

    Thanks for analyzing he contention that we are better off without Gordon playing.   How about going a bit further:
    Question 1:  Is there anyone that Gordon makes better, other than Gordon? 

    Question 2:  Is there anyone that Jrue does NOT make better?    In other words, is Jrue making Gordon worse also, or is it a one-way effect?
    My eyes tell me that Jrue has a positive effect and Gordon a negative, but it would be good to see if that is true.   I remember a couple of years ago that there was a big plus/minus analytics craze that seemed to die out.    I only like it as a way to confirm what box-score analytics tell us.

  6. thouse

    January 4, 2014 at 8:53 am

    So an extra week is all we needed to get more definitive proof? What’s your methodology? Where are you getting your numbers? 
    If we go over to NBAWOWY, the numbers on the season it paints a picture similar to yours. His eFG% is 53 and his TS% is 55 with Gordon off the court. Great, great production. However, that’s in just 240 minutes. Using PER 36 for guys with minutes that low is always a risky proposition, you probably should have pointed this out.
    If we go back to and look at lineup data we see that, yes an Evan/Holiday lineup is fantastic offensively with an ORating of 115 in 400 minutes (sample size again). That number is great, it also likely comes down with more minutes. 
    What you fail to point out (again) is that Gordon/Holiday is very good offensively with a 107 ORating. That number is good enough to win plenty of games (it is equivalent to a top 5 offense in the NBA). Again, something you probably should have pointed out. Not doing so appears misleading at best for a site that purports to want to promote healthy discussion of Pelicans basketball.
    What’s interesting to me is that you are arguing this from the completely wrong angle. The offense is not and has not ever been a problem. Any way you want to configure the guards, all the lineups score at acceptable rates. What kills this team is porous defense. And what is interesting about Gordon is how much better the defense is without him on the floor. According to, the DRating goes from 108 to 101 when he sits. For Evans its 107 to 104 when he’s on the bench and for Holiday it is about the same (105) whether he sits or plays. 
    Defense is why this team loses games regularly. Would be great to see articles here, Bird Writes, wherever else actually breaking down the defensive miscues instead of agitating an already agitated fan base.

  7. Benson Boogie

    January 4, 2014 at 10:09 am

    Is Gordon able to be amnestied?

  8. Jason Calmes

    January 4, 2014 at 10:09 am

    Good points. I find some of the wording, title, and conclusions a little strong for the weight of the data.
    There is a point made, and a good one, but I do not believe it points to a break with reality by Williams.
    I’d like to see such articles, too.

  9. Jason Calmes

    January 4, 2014 at 10:12 am

    No. No Pelican can be amnestied as all tue contracts were signed under the new CBA.

  10. Michael McNamara

    January 4, 2014 at 10:17 am

    thouse I agree that the defense is the problem. But that problem can not be solved with the current roster. The only way it is solved is if certain parts are moved out to make way for better fitting parts; more defensive minded parts. 
    So, we are left with this roster and this specific roster can win by outscoring the opponents in a shootout (see Portland game). If this team is handcuffed by a terrible contract and has to play with what it has, my conclusion would be to put the team out there that gives you the best chance to outscore the opponent. That team would feature a lot of Jrue and Tyreke together.

  11. tzander01

    January 4, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Tyreke simply does not shoot the basketball well, though. He is not a shooting threat from the perimeter. Period. And when the rest of your lineup is Aminu, Davis, and Ajinca….you need a shooter on the floor. And that, if nothing else, is why you have to pair Jrue’s play-making ability with Gordon’s shooting.
    Coach has to figure out a better way to utilize Gordon. We often lose sight of the fact that Gordon is good at getting to the rim as well AND can create his on shot. But he needs a pick or an isolation lane. He can’t set up in the corner every halfcourt set.

  12. thouse

    January 4, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Jason Calmes What’s really crazy is the home/road splits. The team is top 10 at home (+ 8 in Net Rating) and bottom 10 (-5.5) on the road. +8 is typically championship contender level and ranks 7th in the league (a full point higher than Portland) in home splits. The defense jumps up a full 10 points on the road (100 to 110).
    Getting away from the guards, Davis is a +16 at home in Net Rating, a -7.5 on the road. This is across the board too. The only player who improves on the road is Roberts going from a +2 to a +8. Roberts is also the only rotation player with a + Net Rating on the road.
    Got to fix those road blues. Last night was encouraging, if ugly, v poor competition, and ultimately scary due to Anderson. But the team found a way to win. I’ll take it minus the Anderson injury.

  13. Jason Calmes

    January 4, 2014 at 11:49 am

    thouse Jason Calmes I saw that, and it is reflected in the record. I draw a thick red f#$ing circle right around those things, jot “Youth” next to it. Youth in all senses, including physical age, body maturity, mental maturity, tenure of the core, etc.

  14. mazonmafia

    January 4, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    xman20002000 I’m not defending the article or the premise but………when is Gordon NOT injured in some way or another?!?  I think he is still an asset to this team (when healthy), but I would love to trade him simply because I don’t trust his knees/body.

  15. thouse

    January 4, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Jason Calmes Absolutely screams YOUTH in all the ways you describe. This is not and should not be a shock given the roster put together. 
    I would add coaching youth as well. Williams has been fine- not awful, not great- but he’s still learning how to be a credible NBA coach too.
    As good as he has been, this franchise/roster is still waiting for Davis to fully develop. And that’s okay. He’s playing at a star level with plenty of room to improve on both sides of the ball……. as a 20 year old. Learning how to anchor an entire franchise takes some time.

  16. Jason Calmes

    January 4, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    thouse Jason Calmes In my experience, such reasonable, thoughtful, data and experience driven posts are met, in the end, with silence or “unh unh!” in other places. I’m glad we have a place where such responses are both cultivated and respected.
    Thanks for thinking.

  17. Jason Calmes

    January 4, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    xman20002000 Define chemistry, then we can talk about measuring it. Playing some semiotic game to debunk an analysis is unecessary here. Also, you can make predictions based on limited data, but those predictions may not be robust. That’s fine. Since one can NEVER do things in the ideal case, you work in the less-than-ideal and deal with limitations, some of which are just assumed, of course.
    Bring some data, not some handwaving.

  18. Michael McNamara

    January 4, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    Here’s my thing – No data is flawless. All can be picked apart. So, it is easy for people to dismiss data, due to lack of context, sample size, etc. That’s fine. But then, at least present some data that runs counter to the argument presented. 
    Seriously, show me one piece of data that says Holiday, or this team in general, is better when Gordon is on the floor. Just one, because I have been looking today and I still cant find anything.

  19. GerryV

    January 4, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    bobmurrell Gordon is the better defender…DEFENSE is the issue…..DEEEE-FENSE…….guarding people…getting stops……repeat that tonight before you say your prayers…Amen.

  20. GerryV

    January 4, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    bobmurrell now I like Evans as a player and my comments are based on what seems to be “lets find what we can about Gordon and bury him”….Gordon has talent and many times you guys miss his positive contributions….remove the emotion from it……and if you want to get rid of him you better have another guard to bring off the bench or to take his place…..

  21. GerryV

    January 4, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Jason Calmes DEEEEEEEE-FENSE!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. GerryV

    January 4, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    tzander01 he doesn’t…watch the game more carefully…spank spank!!!

  23. GerryV

    January 4, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    DEEEEEEEEE-FENSE!!!!!!!! Basketball is played on both ends of the floor! Unless the offensive disparity is huge the presentation gets shredded……DEFENSE!!!!!….what player balances it out and what players style is more suite d from the bench…..Evans can get his stuff in floor..etc..Gordon is more of a scheme guy…..( burrrrrrrrr….sound of shredder)..sorry but blunt is beautiful…..I still have love for you.

  24. Jason Calmes

    January 4, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Michael McNamara I’ve made this point. I said in another comment that I find the conclusions a little overstated, but the data certainly jibes with things Gerry and I discussed yesterday at lunch and with things I’ve been thinking for a couple of weeks, and it certainly provides something for people to put on their watch list.
    With small data, it’s very hard to come up with refuting data because there is not much data. I think some (not all) of the objections are of the variety that question whether this is a stable phenomenon (your claim) or something that will normalize (the concern). 
    Ergo, the data lies in the future.
    As I said: watchlist.
    You and Mason got my attention, and I’ve never stated otherwise. If that means something to others . . . you know, the guy who teaches this stuff giving some approval . . . great.

  25. GerryV

    January 4, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    Our lunches should be a podcast! Edit chewing sounds…lol!! Always enjoy our hoop talks!

  26. mateor

    January 4, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    GerryV you guys’ double feature has become  my favorite post here. I am a definite Gerry V believer.

  27. lawstar

    January 4, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Exactly!  DEFENSE! GerryV
    The assassins lineup Davis Aminu, Evans, Holiday, and Gorden. I like Montty who started Ajinca and had Anderson and Evan coming of the bench. Stiemsma can start in case Ajinca faulter. On defense Davis and Aminu are the best post defenders, with rebounding and defense. I see players bounding off Amiinu and he is the most physical and athetic player on the team. Gordan played a better game last night but he and Holiday can play much better and need to focus. Brain Roberts is instant office. Evans is playing like the best six man in the leaque and we all know Davis is the Franshise what a Awesome shot at the end of the game.

  28. Michael McNamara

    January 4, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    lawstar Everybody knows defense is the problem, but screaming the word won’t fix it. The personnel does not exist on this team to play it at even an average level. But the personnel does exist to have an elite offense. 
    Portland is 23rd in defensive rating but are getting by just fine because they are as efficient as possible with their offense. 
    You improve what you are capable of improving. I firmly believe that this team can improve its offense more than its defense this year, even though its offense is good and its defense is bad. 
    But I am open for a counter argument. With THIS roster, how do we improve the defense?

  29. GerryV

    January 4, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    I will scream the word!! ( good therapy for me) DEFENSE!!!!!!

  30. thouse

    January 5, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Michael McNamara I agree that the current roster has to rely on outscoring teams. Same time, they’re not playing for just this season.
    If they ever want to be NBA contenders, they will need at least a league average defense. To be sure, the roster lacks players who can make defensive impact via awareness, athletic skills, or both. Even Davis has work to do defensively. Another big body and another athletic wing need to be on the shopping list this summer.
    But that doesn’t mean the defensive ineptitude is all on the players. There are a litany of teams (Boston and Phoenix among them) with worse defensive talent that have much better defenses than the Pelicans. I would be thrilled to see some schematic changes that fit the talent on hand- less hard hedging, simpler rules for rotations, coaching to avoid overhelping- and go from there. 
    Seems to me like Monty is trying to force square pegs into round holes the last couple of seasons. You can do a lot of different things with defensive talents like Paul, Ariza, Okafor, and vets like West on a roster. Not so much with what they have now.

  31. Jason Calmes

    January 5, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    xman20002000 Jason Calmes I recognize that. In fact, I teach that. I also recognize that you have to define what it is you are talking about if you want sharp answers. So, provide the definition or recognize that the analysis you get will not be as surgical as what you require.

  32. Pingback: Hoops Links: Bynum, Celtics, Spurs | Hoops Rumors

  33. shantadiva

    January 6, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Michael McNamaralawstarThis begs the question, “Why does his production go down with Gordon on the floor?”  What is Gordon doing that cause Jrue’s number to go down?

  34. shantadiva

    January 6, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    shantadiva Michael McNamara lawstar to put it another way, if you were listing the skills that you’s want a SG to have playing with Jrue, wouldn’t those skills be what Gordon provide?

  35. shantadiva

    January 6, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Michael McNamara lawstar Another question is wouldn’t you expect Jrue’s number to go down playing with a quality guard who provides scoring and assist help?

  36. shantadiva

    January 6, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Michael McNamara lawstar If not, what skills would you want the SG playing with Jrue to have?

  37. shantadiva

    January 9, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    GerryV What are the Pels doing wrong?  How can they do to play better D?

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