Severely underrated Jrue Holiday leads Pelicans in ripping out Blazers’ hearts

I’ve only seen Jrue Holiday play a handful of times over the last couple seasons and every time I watched the 6-4 point guard, I came away really impressed by his demeanor, skill set and how he was just straight ballin’. Yes, the team has Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, still I always go away wondering why Holiday wasn’t talked about more as one of the league’s ten best point guards.

Last night inspired me to finally write up a post about the 27 year old that averaged a “quiet” 19 points, 6 assists and 1.5 steals on 49% from the field during the regular season. Let’s give Jrue his due.

Holiday Leads Pelicans to 2-0 Lead Over Blazers

The way that Holiday toyed with Evan Turner and Damian Lillard was almost disrespectful, but not because Holiday said anything. Almost every time he scored, Jrue looked as if he was playing against college players nervously trying to to stay in front of an NBA superstar. All through that, Jrue’s expressions rarely shifted from his general “not impressed by you or my myself” look like he was saying “I’m better” without saying it.

With the Pelicans taking (not stealing) two wins on the road, what everyone will likely lock onto after New Orlean’s win last night is Holiday’s 33 points, and rightly so, he did it with ease and composure that shows the point guard’s NBA experience. The impressive thing is he was doing it against other experienced NBA players. Take a look at how he uses his handles, strength, and intelligence as he probes for spaces and gaps, takes what the defense gives him and just when it looks like the defense adjusts, Holiday counters and makes it look way too easy.

It’s easy to get caught up in his beautiful give-i’ll-take approach to offense, but what’s helping to fuel the Pelicans, in addition to a motivated and focused Rajon Rondo, is Holiday’s knack for doing the big and little things on the defensive end. We say knack, but really, Holiday is able to read plays in slow-motion on the defensive end, too.

Whether it’s blocking Lillard or pinning Pat Connaughton against the backboard for a game-saver, grabbing offensive rebounds, breaking up fast breaks, tipping a ball, or taking a charge, Holiday’s defense should get as much love as his left-handed dunk over Jusef Nurkic. Jrue is one of those great players that not only provide highlights, but also does things that make even NBA-hating basketball traditionalists and old-school coaches sit up and take notice. What we’re saying is Jrue is a pro’s pro.

“I worked hard for this, honestly, all season long when nobody is looking,” Holiday told I’ve looked, Jrue and many more are now paying much more attention after your performance last night.

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