The Pelicans Should Stick with the Jrue Holiday/Tim Frazier Back Court

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Published: December 2, 2016

The Pelicans started a bit of a surprising backcourt Tuesday against the Lakers, and, with Tyreke Evans’ return being delayed, Tim Frazier and Jrue Holiday should be starting yet again.

It’s unorthodox, but the back court has been working when the two have shared the court together. In fact, the Holiday/Frazier pairing has a net rating of +19.7, including a defensive rating of 89.1–which would be tops in the league by far.

So why is this working so well?

There are a lot of factors, but the main is that the players, at least offensively, are fairly complimentary. With Holiday as the primary, pick and roll ball handler, Frazier is allowed to work off ball more and a shooter and slasher. Look at his shot chart below. From behind the arc and at the rim he’s league average or better.

chart-1

That will work, especially with how well Davis has been playing. In fact, Frazier, who isn’t really thought of as a three-point shooter, has a higher three-point shooting percentage than E’Twaun Moore. And when Frazier gets the ball and attacks? Holiday is shooting a blistering 44.8% from deep this season. The Pelicans are getting everything they want from the offense. Quality pick and roll plays, shooting, rim attacking, multiple sources of passing.

One of the biggest criticisms of Tim Frazier has centered around turning the ball over. But with Holiday back in the mix, it lowers Frazier’s usage rate and allowing him to fill a role more suitable. And the stats back that up. When Holiday is oj the court Frazier turns the ball over less per 100 possessions.

The other biggest criticism has been his defense, which certainly hasn’t been great. But as with the turnover issue, now Frazier is in a better suited role. Holiday can handle the opponent’s best guard which allows the team to hide Frazier a bit more.

This actually improves the Pelicans’ rebounding as the Pelicans are rebounding about 5% higher than their average on the defensive glass. Holiday guards the opponent’s best guard, when that player attacks Holiday is beat less than Frazier would be. If that player shoots Holiday is between him and the rim. He’s able to box out an extra player. Allowing Davis to come in and vacuum up the board.

With Evans’ return looming, this backcourt could remain in the starting lineup. Especially since Evans is expected, once the minutes restriction is lifted, to lead the second unit, and his skill set with Frazier overlaps a bit. And while the Holiday/Frazier backcourt has only played 100 minutes total together, the early returns are looking good. We’ll see if it keeps up.

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