Pelicans

Looking Back at Jrue’s Journey with New Orleans

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Jrue Holiday is now a Buck. The longest-tenured Pelican from the 2019-20 team is no longer with the franchise. A trade to the Bucks signified the end of an era for Holiday and New Orleans. A great player and teammate, we look back on Holiday’s last seven seasons.

November 16th marked an end of an era in New Orleans.

Jrue Holiday, star point guard and franchise cornerstone, was traded to Milwaukee in a blockbuster trade. After months of speculations and rumors, Jrue is heading back East. The trade ended up being a no-brainer for the Pelicans’ front office– three firsts, two pick-swaps and two quality players. Griffin got the most he possibly could have for the former all-star.

 

Growth and Development

Looking back, Jrue’s growth and development over his tenure are incredible. Originally acquired by Demps in 2013, hopes were set high for Jrue. Coming off an All-Star season in Philadelphia, he was the perfect running partner for a budding star in Anthony Davis. Holiday’s skillset complemented the vision Demps originally had.

Unfortunately, injuries and personal matters derailed his first three seasons in New Orleans. From 2013 until the end of the 2016-17 season, Holiday only managed to play 206 regular-season games.

Nonetheless, the franchise still believed in him. New Orleans rewarded Holiday with a lucrative five-year, $126 million extension. At the time, analysts and fans thought the extension was a significant overpay for an injury-prone guard. However, New Orleans’ faith in Holiday paid off.

Over the next three seasons, Jrue was a borderline all-star and cemented himself as one of the best defensive players, being voted to the All-Defensive teams twice. Holiday is now widely regarded as one of the most underrated players in the league. Stars such as Bradley Beal often credit the work of Holiday.

While New Orleans did not have the greatest team success throughout Holiday’s tenure, he leaves New Orleans as a beloved teammate and player. His most significant moment as Pelican came in the 2018 playoffs, where he emphatically dominated Damian Lillard in a first-round sweep. Holiday put the clamps on Lillard, restricting him to 18.5 points per game on sub-40% shooting. The domination of an all-NBA guard showcased the value a guard like Holiday has in the playoffs. His performance in the 2018 playoffs made him one of the most sought-after guards over the last two seasons.

Giving Back

Along with establishing himself as one of the best two-way players in the league, Jrue’s off-court contributions to the New Orleans and NBA community is outstanding. In July of this year, Holiday announced he and his wife Lauren would use the remaining portion of his game checks (roughly $5.3 million) to launch the Jrue and Lauren Holiday Social Justice Impact Fund. The fund aids black-owned businesses and community initiatives in New Orleans, Indianapolis and Los Angeles.

Furthermore, portions of the funds assist HBCU and higher-level educations in their teaching and development. Without a doubt, Holiday’s commitment to supporting the educational institutions, community, and black-owned organizations speaks volumes to the Holiday’s character.

Overall, Holiday ends his career with New Orleans with two playoff appearances, two All-Defensive selections, and averaging a shade under 17 points per game. Luckily for Holiday, Milwaukee is a title contender, giving him an excellent platform to showcase his skills to a global audience. Above all, he deserves the chance to play for a title– something New Orleans isn’t ready to do just yet.

About Vance Abreu

An Australian trying to make it big in Toronto, Canada. Weekly articles about the Pelicans journey to a NBA championship

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