A Focus on the Point

Published: January 21, 2016

Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans, the two “point guards” for the New Orleans Pelicans. One is considered by the fan base to be part of the future, the other is considered a terrible fit so far. Pelicans fans have been increasingly frustrated with Tyreke Evans’ ability to run the offense, and increasingly pleased with the progress of Jrue Holiday. But if we look at their numbers side by side, Evans is the one who actually looks better.

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Their scoring efficiency is nearly identical. The one big thing missing from Tyreke’s offensive repertoire was a jumpshot, but this season he is shooting a career best 35.6% on jumpshots, 38.2% from deep. With a career best PER of 18.5, which is higher than former All-Stars Klay Thompson and Jeff Teague, it is hard to question Evans’ individual production. When Dell Demps claims he won’t take back lesser talent for guys in a trade, you can see his asking price for a guy like Evans might be higher than you think.

The offensive and defensive ratings can be a little deceiving; just looking at their individual ratings and it would appear the Pels are better with Evans on the court. But if we look at Holiday’s rating starting from the moment Evans returned from injury (12/1), his Ortg jumps up to 104.4 (same as Evans) and his Drtg drops down to 103.4, giving him a better net-rating than Evans. Holiday was around for the horrendous start to the season when everyone was hurt, so of course his net rating would be lower.

But even though Tyreke’s individual numbers are pretty good this year, key stats standout as red flags when we talk about his “fit” running the offense. For instance, Evans’ turnover numbers are very high…towards the top of the league for guards who get regular minutes high. Jrue Holiday’s name, on the other hand, is much farther down that list. In fact, Evans’ TOV% is at a career high 17.4%. If we talk about fit in a system that emphasizes quick decisions, that’s a pretty big red flag.

Another red flag that pops up is pace. As Ryan Schwan and Nick Lewellen discussed on the most recent In The No podcast, when we talk about pace we aren’t talking about transition, we are talking about finding a good shot early. Push the ball up the court, get in the paint, if there isn’t something there, reset the offense. Tyreke has not done that at all this year. When he does probe, he resets so slowly that by the time he’s set again there are less than 10secs left on the shot clock. Now Jrue Holiday isn’t the best probe-guy either, but the numbers are a little damning for Evans. When Holiday is on the court, the Pels have a pace of 98.33 possessions/48mins, just under the Clippers. When Evans is on, the Pels have a pace of 95.76, which would be 25th in the league.

Whether Evans or Holiday should run the offense isn’t the question, that has been answered for me. But what do you do with Tyreke Evans if he isn’t the point? Fans aren’t sure whether to trade him or switch him to the super sub role. Meanwhile the coaching staff has yet to make many changes, as Evans remains the starter and Holiday continues to come off the bench, but the recent injury to Eric Gordon could give the team the unique opportunity to play around with lineups, and it looks like Holiday could start his first game in awhile tonight against the Detroit Pistons.

Holiday and Evans do not play too much next to each other, but the numbers are very promising. They play better with each other than not.

Jrue Holiday:

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Tyreke Evans:

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These numbers are just for this season, but they are consistent with the last two years in that they are better with each other. With all eyes on the future, getting a better vision of how these two will work next to each other in this system (without Eric Gordon who, for all intents and purposes, will not be here next year) is something for fans and media to pay attention to, especially in this critical stretch of home games. As Jason Calmes has pointed out, Evans is better suited to come off the bench, maybe this is the start of the transition back to that role. I guess we’ll find out.




Oh and Flock Up for this homestand for real.


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