New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday had 33 points and 9 assists during his recent postseason game against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Portland guard Damian Lillard is currently 0-for-8 when his primary defender is Holiday. The Pelicans guard is averaging 27.0 points with 5.5 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game during the postseason.
New Orleans head coach Alvin Gentry made his case for why he is so impressed with Holiday (via ESPN NBA):
“I thought he was really, really good. But he’s been really, really good the whole season so this is not a surprise or anything. He’s been great the whole season and as I’ve said, in my opinion, and I may be a little bit biased … if you can tell me a better two-way player in the league right now, I’m willing to listen.”
Gentry noted that with an injury to Kawhi Leonard, the New Orleans guard continues to stand out on this short list.
Holiday ranked Top 5 among point guards in ESPN’s Defensive Real Plus-Minus this season. He averaged 0.99 points per possession, which ranked in the Top 25 among all guards in the league.
While he lacks some of the overall production on offense to earn the title as the best overall two-way player, his talent for both scoring and distributing are undeniable.
He was 71-for-154 (46.1 percent) on isolation plays, which ranked No. 4 overall (minimum: 100 possessions) this season. Only two players in the NBA (minimum: 40 possessions) were more efficient on jump shots while playing in one-on-one situations.
The guard was above average as the ballhandler in a pick-and-roll and as a spot-up shooter.
Holiday was also 41-for-72 (56.9 percent) after handoffs, which ranked No. 1 among those who had at least as many possessions.
As a defender, opponents shot 2.3 percent worse on field goal attempts when he was guarding them. Holiday ranked in the Top 25 with 1.5 steals per game during the regular season. During the postseason, expect him to continue to help the Pelicans on both sides of the ball.